Activists Dressed As Sausages Have Crashed The Red Carpet At Australia’s Film Industry Awards

They activists are protesting against gender inequality in the film industry.

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A group of activists from Women in Film and Television (WIFT) have stormed the red carpet this afternoon at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards held at The Star in Sydney.

The AACTA awards are Australia’s version of the Oscars. They celebrate the best of Australian film over the past year.

The activists from WIFT crashed today’s award ceremony, while dressed as sausages, to protest the low level of female nominations in the AACTAs.

Out of the 28 feature films that were shortlisted for the words only two were directed by women, representing seven percent of nominations. According to Screen Australia, 16 percent of feature films produced in Australia between 1970 and 2014 were directed by women.

WIFT is also concerned with what they say is a lack of transparency around the nomination and shortlisting process for the awards. A total of 42 feature films were submitted before the shortlist of 28 was released, and according to WIFT it’s not clear why so many were rejected.

“Two of our members submitted films for selection and they were rejected without a clear reason,” Sophie Mathisen, the President of WIFT, told Junkee.

The campaigners are calling on AACTA president, Geoffrey Rush, and CEO Damien Trewhella to release the information that led to the shortlisting of some films and not others.

WIFT’s protest was designed to draw attention to the gender inequality within the AACTA awards, but the group is also focused on the problems across the entire film industry.

“This is a frustration that has been building for a number of years,” Mathisen said.  “When you’re talking about the industry, you’re talking about the fact that it’s had no significant shift according to the statistics in 40 years. We want a seat at the table.”

WIFT believes that the lack of transparency around the AACTA awards process “protects institutional bias”.

The organisation has been around for 35 years and its purpose is to advocate for the rights of women in the screen industry.

“We are working towards self-destruction,” Mathisen told Junkee. “There should be no WIFT, it should just be 50-50. We are sick of talking, we want action.”

Feature image via Victoria Zerbst