The new initiative from the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles is working to promote gender equality, particularly among film and TV directors.
Alison Emilio has been named director of the Systemic Change Project, a joint initiative of the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles. In the newly created position, she will oversee the project, whose goal is to build a coalition of industry leaders to take tangible steps to bring about measurable progress in gender equity, with an initial emphasis on female directors in film and television.

The project, which was launched in October following four years of research and development commissioned from USC’s Annenberg School, grew out of a two-day meeting WIF LA and Sundance hosted for top industry talent and executives.

During the course of 25 years as an entertainment executive, Emilio as worked at Norstar Releasing, Lorimar Filmed Entertainment and as senior vp, marketing and publicity for New Line Cinema. She also ran the U.S. office of the Toronto/Ontario Media Development Corporation for 10 years. Most recently, Emilio served as vp, marketing and strategic partnerships for CreativeFuture, where she was instrumental in expanding the coalition, establishing strategic partnerships and advancing the organization as an independent voice to advocate for artists’ rights.

Emilio also has worked with the homeless at the Weingart Center and with Optimist Youth Homes on youth at risk. Her environmental work includes Oceana, CBS EcoMedia and Big Sunday/LAUSD projects. She also serves on the advisory board for the Horizon Award, whose mission is to advance gender parity in media and provide sponsorship and mentorship for the next generation of female filmmakers.

“In Alison Emilio we have found the leader we need to manage our multi-faceted project, and we look forward to building momentum as we engage and unify decision makers in Hollywood,” Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, said Monday in a statement.

Added Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of WIF LA: “[Emilio] has the programmatic experience, management skills and film industry relationships to oversee the dynamic systemic change strategy we seek to advance gender equality in media.”

The Systemic Change Project has received support from BMW of North America and Women at Sundance leadership supporters The Harnisch Foundation and Refinery29. Additional support is provided by Kering, The Jacquelyn & Gregory Zehner Foundation, Morgan Stanley Global Sports and Entertainment, Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy, IMDbPro, Abigail Disney and Pierre Hauser, and Ann Lovell.

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