Prime Video has released a new session of ‘Maitri: Female first collective’.
The collective is an endeavour to help build a community for women from media and entertainment where they can come together to discuss their experiences, challenges and successes, and offer their perspective and advice on how to bring about a positive shift.
Graced by nine women professionals from Indian entertainment - including producers, directors, creators, talent and corporate leaders, the latest session features discussions on making the industry more inclusive for women by creating more opportunities, recognising contribution and building a safer work environment.
Moderated by creator and curator of Maitri, Smriti Kiran, the participants comprised Aparna Purohit, Creator – Maitri and Head of India Originals, Prime Video; Indhu VS, Writer and Director; Ratheena Plathottathil, Writer, Director and Producer; Elahe Hiptoola, Creator and Producer; Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor and Director; Rima Kallingal, Actor, Producer and Performing Artist; Shreya Dev Dube, Filmmaker and Cinematographer and Neha Parti Matiyani, Cinematographer.
In order to spark conversations and foster collaborations, Prime Video also launched a social community for Maitri that will enable women in entertainment to share successes and work together towards unblocking challenges even more easily.
Sharing deeply personal stories and experiences, the participants reviewed the progress made so far, and challenges faced by women professionals in the industry, be it in films, streaming, or television – covering aspects such as conscious and unconscious bias, gender stereotyping, safety and much more. The camaraderie among the attendees set the tone for the session as they shared their thoughts, opinions and learnings on handling difficult situations.
Through the conversation, they reiterated their commitment to the collective and working together to find potential solutions to create balanced female representation through the powerful medium of modern storytelling. The forum agreed that it is cardinal to have women in decision making roles to ensure that more women are employed, basic logistics of safety and hygiene are taken care of and the narratives are balanced and equitable.
“With the new session of Maitri, we wanted to take stock of where we stand with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion, understand the challenges ahead, and collaborate to find the right solutions,” said Purohit. “We are very heartened by the encouragement and support we have received for Maitri: Female First Collective so far. While it is a gradual journey, I am happy to see some change already coming through. To hear things like ‘we have women writers in our writers’ rooms’, or ‘our women characters have agency’ and ‘our content will definitely pass the Bechdel test’, in conversations with creators, for me, is a major step in the right direction. At Prime Video, we remain deeply committed to DEI. As the next step, we want to strive to have at least 30% women HODs across all our productions,” she added.
Kiran said, “Maitri is a space we all wanted but didn’t have. It has been created to connect women working across the vast and varied Indian film industry, have honest conversations about challenges we face, try and find solutions to those problems and build opportunities that lead to a seismic shift in representation. It is that first step one hopes will lead to giant leaps.”