Creating our safe spaces

9 May

A few weeks back I spoke out and showed my solidarity with women who speak out on sexual misconduct and rape. I added my name to the hashtag #ItsNotOk, created by SWIFT: Sisters Working in Film and Television

Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT) is a fresh and energetic non-profit. Birthed when a group of South African women making films and television came together to discuss the needs of women, it is now the only South African organisation focusing exclusively on the common concerns and shared experiences of women working in film and television. As we work towards engaging, developing and advocating women, SWIFT has fast become a hub of support, empowerment and inspiration.
Currently SWIFT has chapters in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

What are they about?

Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT) was conceptualised during the 2016 Durban International Film Festival. Women making films and television (both locally and internationally) came together to address common concerns, share experiences, support and inspire one another. All in attendance strongly expressed the importance and need of an organisation that works towards uniting, engaging and advocating for women, in essence one that ensures that women are given a voice in the industry. This was the inception of the organization SWIFT.
Currently SWIFT has chapters in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, who meet monthly hosting different events all with the agenda to empower women and allow them to network. The decision was made to take an entire year to set up the organisation with an official launch at DIFF 2017. The intention was to assess the real needs and issues women are facing as opposed to dictating and making generalised assumptions.
After several meetings with women from diverse backgrounds, some key issues stood out, our aims were outlined and committees were established in order to begin meeting these needs.

What do they do?
1. SWIFT ADVOCACY AND IMPACT
One of the major concerns brought forward by women in the South African industry is a safe working environment, free from sexual harassment and discrimination. SWIFT’s official research in the South African film and television industry confirms that rape culture extends even to our industry and is far more prevalent than it would appear on the surface. As the only organisation focused exclusively on women in the industry SWIFT felt its first priority was to educate, create awareness and actively advocate against sexual harassment.
Launched during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children (from 25 November to 10 December), SWIFT’s #ThatsNotOk campaign is based on a national research report on Sexual Harassment which can be found. The movement has since grown and has been featured in local media as well as featured in Variety Magazine during Berlin Film Festival. Recently a national pledge was taken at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) showing the industry’s joint support of the movement.
Berlin: South African Women in Biz Launch #ThatsNotOk Campaign Targeting Sexual Harassment

2. SKILLS AND MENTORSHIP

The mission of the Skills and Mentorship Programme is to facilitate the professional development of South African women in the Film and Television industry. We are dedicated to creating an environment for growth and development that better equips women in the Film and Television Industry, by providing skills and mentorship based events, networking opportunities and the needed support to further catapult women in their career aspirations. Furthermore it is to nurture emerging female talent in the film and TV industry. Mentorship is a crucial factor to ensure that new generations of women in the industry are able to grow and learn from those who have gone before them.
The Skills and Mentorship programmes and events has content that provides professional information and guidance from industry experts, networking opportunities, products and services that offer skills training and support and facilitating mentorship relationships. Speakers, coaches and professional experts in specific Film and Television fields will feature to give insight on solutions that will assist with the progression of women in the industry. These events usually take place at designated Venues, Community Facilities, Schools and any other appropriate location which is accessible to South African women in the Film and Television industry.
SWIFT will host master class events annually where an industry experts will present and offer insight into their field of expertise. This master class will be open to all members of SWIFT.

This week, they will be hosting a workshop where key speakers will talk on sexual harassment within the South Africa film and TV industry.
The aim is to create safe spaces for women within the industry and also to stand in solidarity with those who speak out.

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If you wish to join or make a donation to SWIFT their details are as follows:
Address:
Studios, 33 Frost Avenue,
Milpark, Johannesburg
Email: admin@swiftsa.org.za
Tel: 0768971951

SWIFT banking details:
SWIFT Current Account
Standard Bank,
Northcliff
Branch No: 051001
Acc No: 003308766

End

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