Priyanka Chopra will headline the kickoff event for the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September. The event, the TIFF Soiree, is aimed at raising funds for a new initiative to promote gender parity in the film industry,Hinduatan Times reports.
Chopra will be the guest of honour at the Soiree in support of the new programme, Share Her Journey, which is a “campaign to support female voices in screen industries”.
Launched on July 10, the Soiree will be the first major fund-raising activity to propel that programme forward. Speaking to Hindustan Times, maxine bailey, VP of Advancement at TIFF, said they were excited to have Chopra at the Soiree since “she’s the epitome of what we’re trying to do with Share Her Journey – she is strong, she’s talented, she’s smart, she’s diverse. She not only acts but she produces, she works in different media.”
While announcing Share Her Journey, TIFF had pointed out that of the top 250 films of 2016, only 7% were directed by women and of the top 100, just 29% of all protagonists were female. This initiative is targeted at developing talent over a five-year period to enhance participation of women in the industry.
As bailey – who spells her name in the lower case – said, “Women make up 52% of the world. Why aren’t we hearing their stories and what can we do to change that? And that’s where Share Her Journey came from.
“We’ve been in the film industry for 42 years and we’ve just come to realise there’s not a lot of women’s voices in positions of power within the film industry,” bailey added. Nearly 30% of the films selected to be featured in the 2016 festival were directed by women.
In recent years, many of the films from India at TIFF have had women directors. Last year, for instance, A Death In The Gunj was Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut.As bailey said, “The people who program and go over to India have an affinity to really, really smart, warm stories, interesting art pieces and we’ve been lucky and blessed that some of them happen to be directed by women. So, we’re thrilled, we’re obviously on the right track and India is a place to keep looking.”
Priyanka Chopra is no stranger to TIFF. Her films, What’s Your Raashee? (2009) and Mary Kom (2014) have premiered at the festival but since then she has acquired an international profile with the TV drama Quantico and her role in the film Baywatch.