As allegations of sexual harassment in Hollywood continue to trickle in and shine a light on the gender disparity at the highest ranks of the entertainment industry, a new three-year program from Vice Media aims to finance and distribute the films of female directors, a third of which are of Middle Eastern descent.
The initiative, called Broadly Films, was announced by The Hollywood Reporter on Monday morning. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the multi-million dollar three-year project, funded by venture capital company AE Ventures, will assist 36 international filmmakers in funding, developing, and producing short films about "innovation, technology, youth, and women's issues." All films will be distributed on Vice's Broadly channel and other Vice channels.
A group of Broadly Films "mentors"—a group that includes Gloria Steinem, Malala Yousafzai, Spike Jonze, and Ana Lily Amirpour—will help choose the international group of directors. One-third of the project's hires will be either of Middle Eastern descent or living in the Middle East.
Broadly Film's focus on Middle Eastern directors stems, in part, from Vice Media's expansion into the United Arab Emirates. Vice Media is in the process of opening an office in Abu Dhabi, and launching a regional website in the next few months, according to Broadly publisher Ariel Wengroff. "If we're going to have boots on the ground in this region, we want to make sure that we're covering stories about women there," Wengroff told The Hollywood Reporter.