Women filmmakers make up only 24%* of the top filmmaking roles in the industry, so as a brand with a longstanding commitment to progressing gender equity, this awards season, Johnnie Walker is celebrating women trailblazers who changed the fabric of film, and enabling future generations of women filmmakers, by leaning into one of Hollywood’s most iconic symbols – the red carpet.
As part of the Johnnie Walker First Strides initiative, and in time for the pinnacle of awards season, the brand has crafted a piece of art symbolizing the red carpet in honor of the many women who have broken and continue to break barriers so future generations of women were seen and celebrated walking the red carpet.
The avant-garde work spotlights seven filmmakers for their boundary-pushing contributions to culture, including:
- Ana Lily Amirpour made her directorial debut in 2014 and immediately tore the mainstream to shreds with her distinctive creative vision and stylistic sense of adventure.
- Janicza Bravo is an acclaimed writer and director known for breaking boundaries in both cinema and television.
- Christine Choy is an electrifying artist behind and beyond the camera.
- Julie Dash was the first African American woman to have a feature film receive a wide theatrical release and has continued to innovate in the worlds of cinema, television, and fine art ever since.
- Claire Denis has created an inventive body of work and is widely recognized as an inspired director and screenwriter with a vivacious and trenchant perspective.
- Wanuri Kahiu is an acclaimed filmmaker, speaker, and science fiction writer whose work champions the need for fun, fierce and frivolous African art.
- Gina Prince-Bythewood is a wildly prolific director, writer, and producer, and longtime advocate for equal representation in the industry. Her films are known for their authentic, character-driven narratives
The carpet debuted at the 16th Annual WIF Oscar Party, which Johnnie Walker presented as a sponsor of to help honor all 65 women, in front of and behind the camera, who have been nominated for an award this year. Learn more about this year’s nominees and how WIF is recognizing their work by visiting womeninfilm.org/voteforwomen.
“The stories being told by women deserve to be celebrated, and we need to see and hear more of them,” said Sophie Kelly, SVP Whiskies at Diageo North America. “As we roll out our own red carpet in partnership with WIF, Johnnie Walker is proud to recognize all the incredible trailblazers, whose voices are shaping culture and the entertainment industry, and we hope our continued work inspires others to join us in taking steps towards a more equitable future.”
To further uplift women in the industry and inspire future generations of bold women storytellers, Johnnie Walker is supporting the mission of WIF, the nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for gender equity in the screen industries. Tied to a larger initiative to be announced by WIF next month, the partnership will set out to dismantle barriers and carve paths to spotlight and support women storytellers.
“We recognize and celebrate the contributions of women in the industry to encourage and inspire more women to become filmmakers,” said Kirsten Schaffer, the Chief Executive Officer of WIF. “Johnnie Walker is a brand that has shown its commitment to advancing gender equity and we’re proud to have them as our partners helping to build a world that values women by empowering them to tell the stories that shape our culture.”
Johnnie Walker’s support will help WIF equip emerging women filmmakers with the experience, skills, and connections needed to achieve their goals. The collective ambition is to build the pipeline, sustain careers and advocate for industry change that closes the gender gap, fosters safe working environments and ultimately achieves parity for women.
Understanding women-led films get made when more people watch them, Johnnie Walker teamed up with MUBI, the global distributor, streaming service and production company, to offer unlimited, 30-day free subscriptions. Consumers 21+ can start watching and discover new women-made films by visiting www.mubi.com/johnniewalker.
To learn more about Johnnie Walker’s support for women in the film industry and the filmmakers featured on the carpet, please visit www.johnniewalker.com/firststrides.