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SAE women’s only event ChicFlix sells out again

SAE women’s only event ChicFlix sells out again

“Seeing a sea of female faces on campus makes me so happy”, declares SAE Creative Media Institute Campus Director Dr Suzette Major as she reflects on the second instalment of ChicFlix, held at the SAE studios in Auckland on Saturday 17 November. ChicFlix is a one-day filmmaking workshop run by women, for women. It’s the sister workshop to ChicMix, an audio engineering workshop run at SAE around May each year.

“We set up ChicFlix and ChicMix so that women can explore the creative techniques of filmmaking and audio engineering within a nurturing and encouraging environment,” says Suzette. On each occasion the workshops have sold out, with Saturday’s ChicFlix workshop attracting 20 participants. The numbers are kept small so that participants get the opportunity to get hands on with the equipment.

“I travelled from Taupo for today” says 2019 ChicFlix participant Denise Edmonds. “I have a real interest in making films, but more than that, the fact that it’s an event run by women for women that made it very attractive – I wanted to be a part of that. It’s about supporting and encouraging women in a safe environment, I loved it”

Over the course of the day, ChicFlix participants cycle through four sessions on camera techniques and green-screening, lighting and effects, post production sound, and editing techniques. By the end of the workshop, they have helped put together a clip, complete with sound and lighting effects to take home. This year the clip was based around Bond, Jane Bond that is.

There are few industries in which the gender gap is more obvious than in film and audio. In Hollywood, women directors make up just 7%[1]. While women are underrepresented in New Zealand too, it is encouraging to see that the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is committed to addressing the gender imbalance through a range of initiatives from funding decisions to targeted professional development awards, and even publishing statistics on gender within the New Zealand screen industry to help make the issue more public.

But, stereotypes and misconceptions still prevail, particularly in more technical behind the scenes roles such as cinematography, lighting technician, sound person or editor. “Such roles can be strongly male dominated”, explains Suzette. “There’s sometimes a misperception that women are unable to do such work because broadcast cameras are too heavy, or lighting gear too cumbersome to carry around. In truth, that’s utter nonsense”.

“We want to show women that there’s a genuine career pathway for them in film. Even if ChicFlix inspires just one more female to become a filmmaker, then it’s worth it!”

The positive feedback from this year’s ChicFlix participants shows that SAE is offering up just what they need. ChicFlix attendee Fe Foster enthuses “ChicFlix is an amazing event, the staff have been so helpful and keen to share their knowledge: I loved how hands on it was, I got to actually touch the equipment and give it a real go without feeling inadequate or embarrassed.”

As well as running weekend workshops such as ChicFlix, SAE Creative Media Institute offers NZQA accredited qualifications including a Diploma in Screen Productionand Bachelor of Screen Production. For further information about their filmmaking, music production or audio engineering courses, visit www.auckland.sae.edu.

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