Kermit Weeks with his Sunderland Flying Boat

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Kermit Weeks with his Short Sunderland flying boat at Fantasy of Flight aviation museum in Polk City, Florida.

Mr Weeks’ Sunderland – Sunderlands were renamed Short Sandringhams when converted for civilian transport – is similar to the one in which Mr B travelled to Port Moresby in 1954. It may even be the very same plane. It is apparently now the only flying Sunderland in the world.

Photograph supplied by Kermit Weeks and used with his kind permission.

VHX – Another Direct Distribution Platform Opens for Business

Brooklyn-based direct-to-viewer video distributor VHX has just opened for business:

VHX is a direct-to-fan distribution platform built for premium video. We empower artists to sell their work from their own websites, directly to fans.

Everything that used to be sold on DVD can be sold on VHX. We’ve helped creators sell their films, documentaries, standup specials, live concert footage, lectures, web series and more.

World-Wide Shortage of Women’s Films, or World-Wide Shortage of Funding for Women’s Films?

In the March 2014 edition of the WIFT NSW – Women in Film & Television NSW – newsletter, WIFT NSW President Laura Sivis writes about the shortages of funding for women to make films and the shortage of films by women that women want to see.

Recently, there has been an additional hurdle for women applying for film funding. Applicants now must have made a “qualifying film” within a limited number of years. Any woman who takes a few years off to have children, risks being “locked out” of the funding system – because her earlier qualifying films are no longer acceptable.

Nonetheless, the world of distribution is rapidly changing….

Last year I was at a panel in Toronto discussing Video On Demand revenues. The panel included representatives from many of the major North American VOD companies including: GoDigital, EPix, Netflix, MarbleMedia, Direct TV, Bell Media, and Tricon FIlms. The panel concurred that 70% of their VOD revenues were from women’s films but there simply was “not enough female content to meet the demand”…. The panel identified what they referred to as a “world-wide shortage” of women’s films. They agree that female audiences are not being served at the box office (which is largely controlled by male film market buyers)….

However now, with VOD, women can bypass the lack of choice at the cinemas and access the films they want to see directly on VOD. Women are speaking with their wallets. It’s time funding bodies embraced new distribution models and realise – the world is not as flat as a cinema screen.

As our lovely past festival patron, Cate Blanchett, declared in her Oscar Speech last night: “The World is Round”. Audiences with curves want to see women’s films, and they will watch them if they are given the opportunity. And those films do make a profit.

There appears to be a fundamental disconnect at work here. Women have a very difficult time of it finding funding to make films compared to their male counterparts, yet there is a large and growing demand for films by, about and for women.

Australian state and federal film funding bodies are not taking up the slack, according to Ms Sivis:

As government funding cuts hit our sector, women are not longer supported as an underrepresented audience demographic – no longer a priority.

She holds out some hope, though:

With new technologies – we are able tell women’s stories like never before.

Meanwhile over at The Guardian yet another study finds that women are under-represented in film.

Women also remain heavily under-represented behind the camera.

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