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New Vimeo initiative will put female filmmakers in the spotlight

Aidy Bryant in Darby Forever

Vimeo

‘It’s extremely unfortunate that the traditional industry has allowed things to be out of balance for so long.’

Vimeo announced today it’s putting a spotlight on female filmmakers.

Share the Screen, Vimeo’s new three-part initiative announced from Sundance, aims to invest in female filmmakers and showcase at least five projects from women in 2016 for distribution on Vimeo On Demand. 

Its first title is short film Darby Forever, which was written by and stars Saturday Night Live cast member Aidy Bryant as a woman who works at a fabric shop and daydreams herself into fantastical situations. Luka Jones (Casual), Retta (Parks and Recreation), and Orange Is the New Black‘s Natasha Lyonne also star. 

The announcement comes as new stats about the representation of women behind the camera in Hollywood have been circulating. A recent study about the “Celluloid Ceiling” found that last year, “91% of films had no female directors.” Although women made up 9 percent of directors in 2015—an increase from 2014, according to the study—it’s still not much progress from women’s representation in 1998. 

“Unfortunately, the entertainment industry overall has allowed things to be severely out of balance in terms of equal opportunities for men and women,” said Sam Toles, Vimeo’s head of content acquisitions. “With dwindling opportunities for women in this industry, Vimeo’s Share the Screen initiative is our start at doing something to help fix that imbalance in the industry.”

Vimeo has already been spotlighting female directors on site, and CEO Kerry Trainor pointed to the “many amazing female filmmakers building their careers on Vimeo.” 

“It’s extremely unfortunate that the traditional industry has allowed things to be out of balance for so long,” she added, “in terms of equality of opportunity for men and women, but it’s very exciting that Vimeo can do something to help correct that imbalance.”

It’s an admirable step as the site attempts to muscle into more original content. Bryant’s short was originally announced as part of Vimeo’s new slate of original programming, which also includes popular webseries The Outs. The streaming site has already seen success with original series High Maintenance, which is now heading to HBO. It released its first original comedy specials, Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex of Hate and Elliott Morgan’s Premature, last month, perhaps in an effort to compete with Netflix’s ever-growing roster.

Darby Forever debuts Feb. 18 on Vimeo. 

Screengrab via Vimeo 

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.