Mind the Gap, Mill Valley Film Festival’s gender equity initiative, was on full display this year. Keeping true to its 50/50 by 2020 pledge, the Festival proudly featured 48% of Festival films directed by women!

Headlining the Mind the Gap initiative was our 3rd Annual Mind the Gap Summit, a day featuring presentations, panels, and networking, lead by an extraordinary line-up of thought leaders in the film industry.

The focus this year was Money. We heard from keynote speaker Anna Serner, the visionary CEO of the Swedish Film Institute on “Gender Equality—for Who?”; filmmakers Pratibha Parmar and Jennifer Siebel Newsom on the topic of pay equity; and directors Kasi Lemmons (Harriet) and Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) discussing how we invest in women’s stories.

Anna Serner, Mind The Gap Summit | Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Pratibha Parmar | Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

The first ever Mind the Gap Directors Forum showcased the remarkable journeys and perspectives of five U.S. and international filmmakers who took a deep dive into what it takes to sustain a career as a filmmaker—of fiction, animation, and documentary films. Moderated by Women and Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein, the candid, often profound conversation with Zabou Breitman (The Swallows of Kabul, France), Sippy Chadha (Subira, Kenya), Chinonye Chukwu (Clemency, U.S.), Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy, Brazil) and Kasi Lemmons (Harriet, U.S.) moved and inspired the audience.

Petra Costa, Zabou Breitman, Kasi Lemmons, Zoë Elton, Melissa Silverstein, Chinonye Chukwu, and Sippy Chadha | Photo © Roman Cho

And, behind the scenes, Kenyan director Sippy Chadha shared this: “Having me on the panel for female directors gave me so much visibility that as I sit on the plane to go home, I have an agent to represent my next film.” We can’t wait!

Watch sessions from the Mind the Gap Summit and Directors Forum, located in our video gallery.