“There’s a saying, Behind every great man is a great woman.” That saying has not been updated for decades. Until now.
An independent short film by a majority-female crew wants you to know that it’s time support went both ways. “Because beside every great man is a great woman.”
The film was written, shot, edited and released within two weeks, in time for International Women’s Day. Olivia Cheung, integrated producer at The Royals, and Cassie De Colling, awarded director with The Otto Empire, came together after hearing too many stories about discrimination and gender bias in the film and advertising workplace. They wrote the script over a weekend in order to make the film in time for International Women’s Day.
It follows three women in everyday situations where gender bias, presumption and misconception exist – sometimes in the most subtle ways. The 60-second core film is supported by four 30-second character spots – The Leader, The Underdog, The Creator and The Problem Solver, highlighting important roles women play.
The campaign’s portrayal of women excelling in fields perceived to be male-dominated takes its cue from this year’s IWD theme of #PressforProgress, whose aim is to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
In the Australian film industry, women make up 32% of producers and just 16% of directors and 23% of writers.
Cheung noted, “It was an ambitious goal to begin with. Typically a social campaign of this size would be planned for at least six months, and we managed to get this together from concept to delivery in three weeks, with the support of so many people willing to donate their time and skills.
“It just goes to show how many people connected with the #BesideNotBehind message – to make things truly equal and not about gender, it’s about supporting each other. There’s a lot of mixed feelings around the gender equality and feminist movement that can divide men and women, and that’s why we felt it was important to share a message that it’s about supporting each other, which I think is the unique thing about our campaign.”
De Colling added, “We’ve made a lot of progress in removing gender bias, differences in pay gap, creating more opportunities for women and men to stand shoulder to shoulder. I was keen to make a piece people would watch and feel like they could acknowledge the subtle differences of the current gender divide but more so be a part of the message of acknowledging and supporting each other.
“The thing that made this job so magic for me was looking around on set and seeing such a passionate crew of women and men championing the message #BesideNotBehind. It was incredibly fulfilling. Everyone involved has worked around the clock to create the best film possible given the resources and time. #BesideNotBehind gave us all an opportunity to expand our networks, learn from each other and have a truly iconic piece to show at the end.”
The film is also hosted on the Beside Not Behind Facebook page.
Written by Cassie De Colling & Olivia Cheung
Directed by Cassie De Colling
Produced by Olivia Cheung
Mum: Rebecca Bastiaensz
Dad: Carey Carter
Daughter: Lara Darwish
Female AFL Player: Siobhan Barnes
Male AFL Player: Chad O’Brien
Physio: Madeleine French
Politician: Sally Cheng
Male Secretary: Jamie Hansen
Girlfriend: Heather Burridge
Boyfriend: Andrew Eggleton
P-Plater: Dean Smyth
Director: Cassie De Colling
Producer: Olivia Cheung
Director of Photography: Ashley Barron
Production Managers: Olivia Cheung, Justine Pitcher & Ema Thornell
Associate Producer: Michelle Lloyd
Location Scout: Francesca D’Orazio & Michelle Jones
Location Manager (Melb Water): Peter Kissonergis
Casting Agency: 2 Divas
Casting & Production Coordinator: Jessica To
Casting Support: Lauren Bailey & Jenna Eriksen
1st Assistant Director: Astrid Dominguez
1st Assistant Camera (Day 1): Karina Davies
1st Assistant Camera (Day 2): Vanessa Cox
2nd Assistant Camera: Felicia Smith
Gaffer: Daniel Carr
Best Boy: Tommi Hacker
Electrics: Markus Hilgert
Production Designer: Oosah Kerr
Art Dept Assistants: Lauren Bailey & Kerri Mould
Wardrobe: Lenna Boord
MUA (Day 1): Eve Flight
MUA (Day 2): Kate Radford
Production Assistants: Kean Szczur & Lauren Merritt
BTS Videographer: Amelia Mullooly
BTS Stills Photographer (Day 1): Jackson Gallagher
BTS Stills Photographer (Day 2): Dijana Risteska
Catering: Gail Bailey
PR & Marketing: Michelle Lloyd & Andrea Sophocleous
Offline Editors: Grace Eyre & Max Miller
Online Editors: Wilfred Patriarca
Colour Grade: Edel Rafferty
Sound Design: Kathleen Burros
Music Composer: Ned Beckley
Voice-over: Natalie Bond
Recording Studio: Gusto Studio
Content Producer: Hossein Khodabandehloo
The Royals, The Otto Empire, Panavision, 2 Divas, The Editors, The Refinery, Studio Pancho, Equate Studios, Noise International, Australian Cinematographers Society, Melbourne Water & Film Victoria
Special thanks to:
Nic Godoy and Greg Lloyd, Steve O’Farrell, Andrew Siwka, Dave King, Jo Jo De Fina, Gareth Sweet, Stuart Nightingale, Haley Kriksic, Claire Ambrosio, Andrea Sophocleous, Mika Tran Justine Pitcher, Kate Merrin, Alice Grant, Francesca D’Orazio, Ema Thornell, Amy Fong, Daniel Kim, Qiao Li, Hossein Khodabandehloo, Antuong Nguyen, Paul Bloomfield, Peter Kissonergis, Colin Simkins and Sean Calleja Ben Bickford, Leon the builder, Ben Tumney, Joe Loh, Warwick Field, Gail Bailey.