Life Through an Equitable Lens

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Equitas Entertainment is a company on a mission—making the world a better place through the business of storytelling. Equitas is creating a new model to prove that you can move the needle on social change, have a commercially successful film, all while paying women the same as men and providing equal opportunity for groups that have traditionally been under represented on both sides of the camera.

In all Equitas productions, females actors must have a comparable salary to their male counterparts. It seems simple, but it’s definitely not the normal working environment for actors today. On some levels, it really is that simple—the gender pay gap in film ends when the ones who make and finance the films end it.

WealthSimple, 2017. In 2016, women working as actors made, on average, 87% as much as their male counterparts, placing actresses squarely in the middle of the pay-gap spectrum. In the upper echelons of the industry, however, the gap was more dramatic: The top ten highest-paid actresses earned, on average, 42 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. And the top five, earned 48 cents for every dollar earned by the top five male actors.

WealthSimple, 2017. In 2016, women working as actors made, on average, 87% as much as their male counterparts, placing actresses squarely in the middle of the pay-gap spectrum. In the upper echelons of the industry, however, the gap was more dramatic: The top ten highest-paid actresses earned, on average, 42 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. And the top five, earned 48 cents for every dollar earned by the top five male actors.

Everything Equitas is doing is aimed at viewing life and work through an equitable lens. Making films with a social message isn’t enough. If your commitment to equality doesn’t show up in the production of the film itself, how deep is it? If women are paid less than men in your production, if the same groups of people that have been underrepresented in film don’t have the roles in front and behind the camera, how real is your commitment to change?

Equitas Entertainment works to address this by developing authentic relationships with communities engaged in struggles for change, bringing them into the creative process to identify and amplify the stories that are most important to them. The goal is to always use art to influence social change, while reflecting that change in the work.

WealthSimple, 2017.  Beyond the wage gap, the paucity of women in the Hollywood workforce, period—producers, editors, executive producers, writers, directors, and cinematographers in particular—is even more striking. 

WealthSimple, 2017.  Beyond the wage gap, the paucity of women in the Hollywood workforce, period—producers, editors, executive producers, writers, directors, and cinematographers in particular—is even more striking. 

Having built the company on this lens of equity, the stories Equitas is telling are absolutely aimed at making a difference on their own, weaving a social agenda into the storyline, challenging the audience to wrestle with ideas, break down barriers, and humanize issues we too often compartmentalize. Equitas wants their audience to encounter the sometimes uncomfortable truth about life, and be moved by it.

For Equitas, however, the making of the film is just the first step. Co-Founders, Holly Levow, Paul Kampf and Tom Sperry are building campaigns and coalitions around the issues in each film, making sure that when that moment of inspiration hits the audience, there is something for that audience to do. To take the audience out of the cinema (or off the couch), and into the world on that wave of inspiration.

WealthSimple, 2017. 

WealthSimple, 2017. 

Equitas Entertainment also wants to create a domino effect with their business model, expanding and influencing other industries, to show that it is possible to bring great intention to your work while being commercially successful.

The key takeaway...the return on investment doesn’t always have to be financial, but doing good can also be good business.

Katie KilbrideComment