A Summary of WIFTI SUMMIT in Helsinki 2023

A Summary of WIFTI SUMMIT in Helsinki 2023

Women In Film and Television International (WIFTI) organised the Summit weekend in cooperation and by the invitation of WIFT Finland and WIFT Sweden with WIFT Finland in charge of the event production. The WIFTI Helsinki Summit 2023 was curated by Marjaana Mykkänen, in collaboration with Helene Granqvist, Dr. Susan Liddy, and Kirsten Schaffer, in cooperation with the WIFTI Knowledge, Advocacy, and Activism Committee. There was much joy in seeing familiar faces, especially since most of the attendees hadn’t travelled much in the last few years.

On Saturday, the conference saw a discussion on the current status of Gender Equality from researchers, professors, and professionals including Prof. Lisa French (Australia), Dr. Eva Flicker (Austria), Dr. Susan Liddy (Ireland), Dr. Greta Gober (Poland). They discussed change – what has changed, who’s responsible for change, what does change mean? Director Katja Gauriloff (Skolt Sámi, Finland), director Fawzia Mirza (US/Canada), and editor Theo Lindberg (Sweden) were in conversation with Victoria Thomas (UK).

Liselott Forsman from the Nordic Film & TV Fund talked about the impact of AI.

Laura Allen Muller from WIFT Denmark spoke about their campaign “A BIGGER PICTURE” which aims to improve the representation of minorities in Danish Film and TV.

Andria Wilson Mirza from WIF LA shared some insights into how the ReFrame Initiative (a collaboration between WIF LA and the Sundance Institute) designs and leads systemic change programs in Hollywood and how they develop partnerships with key industry leaders and companies. Within the ReFrame Initiative, they are now launching ReFrame ReSource – an online hub of culture change tools and best practices created in collaboration with 50+ advocacy organisations, covering topics ranging from equity in development to production, hiring, and audience development.

Eeva-Sofia Anttonen from WIFT Finland presented a digital tool called “The Equality Tool for the AV industry” to help people in the industry take concrete actions to improve equality and comply with diversity legislation. They are launching it soon, and it will soon be available in Swedish!

The audience heard from Brigitte Monneau, Canada, about women as a specialist tool. They also heard from Domizia De Rosa, Italy, about rules for ethical behaviour in the AudioVisual Field Sector. Alejandra FC Zarazua, Sweden, disclosed insights from WIFT TECH.

WIF CEO Kirsten Schaffer, WIF LA, shared the celebration of WIF LA turning 50 with stories about how the community was built 50 years ago, what change looks like now, and what’s next for WIF and the movement, followed by an evening of dinner, dance and a celebration of WIF LA turning 50.

Helene Granqvist also presented the newly instated WIFTI Peace Prize to Anne Lajla Utsi from the Sámi Film Institute. The WIFTI Peace Prize rewards the efforts of embracing peace, even while experiencing tension, discomfort, and historical challenges. The prize honours the art of storytelling and the process of building constructive relationships.

Sunday morning started off with “Voices from the Indigenous North.” Pauliina Feodoroff remarked about how to re-learn communication with nature, Anne-Lajla Utsi (Sámi Film Institute) shared how three of the four films from their slate have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Victoria Thomas (UK) and Grace Maharaj (Sweden) talked about leadership and economic equity in the European media and entertainment context. Dr. Deborah Jermyn, Professor Bernadette Luciano, and Dr. Susan Liddy talked about inclusivity with a spotlight on age.

Then there was an opportunity to visit different rooms with different discussions – topics ranging from how to run a successful chapter, gender inclusive language and chapter names, benchmarking programs: mentoring, upskilling, advocacy, sustainability, experience on ageism and how to overcome it, the imperative and the impossibility of managing diversity, global guilds and peer groups.

Domizia De Rosa, Italy, Elina Knihtilä, Finland, Norma Jean Straw, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA, Kirsten Schaffer, WIF LA were in a panel called “Culture Wars”, addressing the right-wing governments around the world who are using culture (including film, TV, media) to move forwards repressive agendas.

Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood are the three largest film and television-producing regions in the world – but not in that order. Do you know who produces the most films? Guneet Monga Kapoor, India, Fawzia Mirza, US/Canada, Victoria Thomas, UK taught us that Nollywood and Bollywood are not terms used by their own industries and that from here on out we should all call them for what they are – the Nigerian film industry and the Indian film industry.

The Summit was enveloped with discussions on the next steps for WIFTI, and summaries from all the parallel group meetings earlier in the day.

In the afternoon, there was a ceremony of the change of guards where Helene Granqvist stepped down as president of WIFTI and Dr. Susan Liddy took over the reins. In between all the sessions, the attendees had time for chats, saunas, dips in the ocean or the pool (or both, for some), and all in all, it was a weekend full of community, love, respect, and simply amazing to share a room with people from six different continents and feel they are all working towards the same goal. A better world.

Thanks to Theo Lindberg for providing the original summary as well as for his great contributions to the event in question.

Women in Film Botswana attends Scriptwriting Workshop

Women in Film Botswana attends Scriptwriting Workshop

The founders of Women in Film Guild Botswana, Serena Serene Mmifinyana and Nikita Neo Mokgware are currently attending a screenwriting program by The Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) Trust in Lagos, Nigeria.

The workshop is a training program in story-telling for the screen aimed at African women screenwriters who have a compelling project in late development. This program is partly funded by The Hawthorne Foundation, and facilitated by DFK Films, a screenwriting consultancy company run by Gabriele Sindler and Donat Keusch who are one of Europe’s leading script analysts. Tsitsi Dangarembga is the founder of ICAPA Trust and one of the pioneers of black women’s filmmaking on the continent. Industry practitioners on the African continent often short-change story development due to a lack of funding and education opportunities for the process. Yet, script development is arguably the most important part of motion picture development. 

art of sustainability wifti

ICAPA Trust expects several films from this year’s workshop to proceed to production, as the Trust is setting up a special vehicle for productions that come out of its training activities. Ms Mmifinyana and Ms Mokgware are very confident that their project will be one of the successes to be recognized. Their project, Dimo in the Sky, is the only animation project in the program. This is the same project that was chosen to be pitched at Pavillion Afriques at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and has garnered much attention and interest from producers and stakeholders both in and out of the continent. Ms. Mmifinyana and Ms. Mokgware are both very grateful for this program, as it is enabling them to improve on their story-building to lock in a film that will resonate with an international audience. All of this can further improve the quality of their films, and take back their knowledge to help improve the quality of films in Botswana.

Watch the 2023 WIFTI Panels

Watch the 2023 WIFTI Panels

WIFTI organised the 2023 Summit in cooperation and by the invitation of WIFT Finland and WIFT Sweden with WIFT Finland in charge of the event production. The WIFTI Helsinki Summit 2023 is supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Finnish Film Foundation, Hanaholmen Cultural Center, the West Finland Film Commission, City of Espoo, Turku Business Region, Helsinki City, and Audiovisual Producers of Finland, Business Finland and Aurora Studios.

Many of these panels are now available to watch via a curated WIFTI YouTube Playlist! Watch experts discuss gender equality, highlight voices from the Indigenous North, illustrate their search for inclusivity with a spotlight on age, and lay out the next steps for WIFTI, among many other insightful conversations!

Promoting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Screen Sector

Promoting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Screen Sector

After the WIFTI Summit in Helsinki, Women in Film and Television International welcomes Dr. Susan Liddy as its new President and Chair of WFT Ireland. During the event, Dr. Liddy took the stage to the stage to share an important message that reflects WIFTI’s mission to empower women in the screen industries worldwide. Watch this video back here now.

Dr. Liddy, an academic and advocate for gender equality, said “It is a privilege to have been chosen to lead WIFTI in the years ahead. I look forward to working with international colleagues in both WIFTI chapters and affiliated organisations, to further strengthen our global organisation and importantly, our connection to each other. For we are bound by a shared goal, to elevate and amplify the role of women in the screen industries across the world; across borders and across cultural divides.  We support each other first and foremost as women and as filmmakers. But we are also united in a vision of empowerment, advancement and solidarity which includes our allies in many marginalised communities with whom we stand shoulder to shoulder. Our goal is steadfast: to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the screen sector everywhere.”

WIFTI’s commitment to empowerment and solidarity extends to all those who share their vision of a more inclusive and equitable screen industry. Dr. Liddy’s words reflect the dedication of WIFTI to creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to tell their stories.

Welcome to the WIFTI Summit 2023!

Welcome to the WIFTI Summit 2023!

wifti summit 2023

Welcome to the WIFTI Summit 2023!

We look forward to a weekend of creative exchange, WIF LA’s 50-year anniversary celebration, and the awarding of the WIFTI Peace Prize. Check out our program below. The events on Saturday and Sunday will be live-streamed on the WIFTI Youtube Channel.



Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) gathers participants from six continents, 40 member associations, to share ideas, working methods and solutions for the future of an equal audiovisual industry. The event opens a view to the global landscape of women in film, television and media, giving members a chance and means to learn from and support each other.

Venue: HANAHOLMEN Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre and Hotel

Live-Stream on Saturday and Sunday on the WIFTI Youtube Channel

More regular updates to the programme will also be posted on the WIFT Finland homepage.





FRIDAY 22nd September

no stream

16.00 – 17.30 Hotel Marski
Finnish Film Affair Closing Cocktails
for WIFTI Helsinki Summit guests by registration

17.45-18.45 Hanaholmen, meeting room Blixtlås
General Assembly for WIFTI members

19.00-21.00 Hanaholmen, restaurant
Informal Welcome Dinner


SATURDAY 23rd September

All events at Hanaholmen Cultural Center. All events from the mainhall will be live-streamed.

10.00 Opening
Welcome by Hanaholmen Cultural Center, WIFT Finland and WIFT International



10.05 Who is who: Members’ presentation round conducted by Helene Granqvist

11.00 Gender Equality Catch-up
Professor Lisa French (Australia)
Dr Eva Flicker (Austria)
Dr Susan Liddy (Ireland)
Dr Greta Gober (Poland
Dr Tarja Savolainen (Finland)
Moderated by Dr Susan Liddy



12.00 We Are The Change
How has the emergence of women and underrepresented minorities changed the media, the industry and art forms, and what does it mean? With director Katja Gauriloff, Skolt Sámi, Finland; director Fawzia Mirza, US/Canada, and editor Theo Lindberg, Sweden

12.45-14.30 ROUND TABLE LUNCH with topics!
online: click the headline for the topics



14.30 Planning Crucial Tracks when the Train is Running Fast 
For years scientists tried to deepen the discussion about the impact of AI on our societies. Physicists urged philosophers to analyse the ethics and power structures of the upcoming paradigm shift. Then a chatbot demo went viral in late 2022, and in 2023 the discussion exploded. Today we are offered multiple horror scenarios side by side with creative and scientific new possibilities and our audio-visual industry is rightfully debating biased AI, rights issues, and artistic principles. 

With Liselott Forsman, Nordic Film & TV Fond. 10+10

14.50 The Bigger Picture by WIFT Denmark
The campaign A Bigger Picture/Et Større Billede aims to improve the representation of minoritized people in Danish film and TV.

With Laura Allen Muller, WIFT Denmark

15.05 Reframe initiative by WIF LA and Sundance
ReFrame designs and leads systemic change programs in Hollywood in partnership with key industry leaders and companies. ReFrame ReSource is an online hub of culture change tools and best practices created in collaboration with 50+ diversity advocacy organizations, on topics ranging from equity in development, to production, hiring, and audience development.

With Andria Wilson Mirza

15.25 The Equality Tool for AV-industry by WIFT Finland
The digital tool helps those working in the industry to take concrete actions to improve equality and to comply with the legislation and/or do a production specific equality plan. The tool is to facilitate the planning of TV and film content, employment relations and workplace safety from an equality perspective.

With Eeva-Sofia Anttonen

15.40 Comments 5’:
Brigitte Monneau, Canada, on Woman as a specialist-tool and the Parity radar (on-line, on screen)

Domizia De Rosa, Italy, on Rules for Ethical Behavior in the Audiovisual Field Sector

Alejandra FC Zarazua, Sweden, on WIFT Tech

Session moderator and closing comments: Debra Zimmerman, Women Make Movies, NY / USA

16.15 COFFEE



16.45 WIF Los Angeles@50
WIF CEO Kirsten Schaffer will share stories of how this community was built, what change looks like now and what’s next for WIF and the movement.

17.15 – 19.30 Group meetings, sauna, naps


Speeches and dance! Hosted by WIF LA

THE WIFTI PEACE PRIZE presented by Helene Granqvist

DJ Bätmän!


SUNDAY 24th September


Good morning with Voices from the Indigenous North

10.00 Planetal crisis recalibrating telling– how to relearn to communicate with the land – with Pauliina Feodoroff

10.10 Borderless Futures– with Anne-Lajla Utsi, Managing Director of the International Sámi Film Institute

10.20 People, Places and Power
A discussion on leadership and economic equity in the European media and entertainment context.

With filmmaker Victoria Thomas, UK, and producer Grace Maharaj, WIFT Sweden

10.40 WIFTI: In search of inclusivity – Spotlight on age.
Dr Deborah Jermyn – UK
Dr Susan Liddy – Ireland
Professor Bernadette Luciano – Italy/New Zealand
Moderator: Dr Susan Liddy

10.15 Change of Rooms

11.40 PARALLEL SESSIONS in break out rooms on:

●      How to run a successful chapter – WIF LA and WFTV UK – how to support smaller chapters (guidelines, advice, shoulders)
●      Gender inclusive language and chapter names – how are chapters changing their names and or descriptions of their work to be more inclusive of underrepresented genders including non-binary and transgender members? – Andria Wilson Mirza
●      Benchmarking programs: mentoring, upskilling, advocacy – TBC
●      Sustainability – Helene Granqvist
●      Experiences on Ageism and How to overcome it – TBC
●      The Imperative and the Impossibility of Managing Diversity: Lessons from an international research project on Managing Newsroom Diversity for advancing social inclusion in the media. – Greta Gabor
●      Global Guilds and Peer Groups – what would they be good for? – Marjaana Mykkänen

Choose your session at the Info on location.

12.30 – 13.30 LUNCH – continuing topics of the morning



13.30  Culture Wars
Right-wing governments around the world are using culture (including film, TV and media) as a means to move forward repressive agendas. As filmmakers and storytellers how do we work together to put an end to the policies and practices that are reversing decades of work toward equality?

With Domizia De Rosa, Italy, Elina Knihtilä, Finland, Norma Jean Straw, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundatin, USA, Kirsten Schaffer, WIF LA

14.15 Bollywood, Nollywood, Hollywood
The three largest film and television producing regions in the world together generate over $644.2  billion dollars and capture 5.6 billion viewers. How well are each of these industries serving women and underrepresented genders? What best practices can each region share with each other and the international community?

With Guneet Monga Kapoor, India, Fawzia Mirza, US/Canada, Victoria Thomas, UK

14.45 COFFEE



Professional global guilds and peer groups initiative
How to extend the global network of chapters to sub-networks for members without straining chapters – a proposition on constructing easy platforms to discuss professional matters in a systematic way.

With Marjaana Mykkänen, WIFT Finland




15.30 Helene Granqvist from Sweden ends her 5-year term with honors as Dr Susan Liddy from Ireland steps in with a warm welcome.

Helene Granqvist with Valeria Richter: Farewell speech
Dr Susan Liddy: Inauguration speech

16.00 Meet The Irish
The reception is sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, Finland. It will be attended by Ambassador Ruth Parkin.



WIFTI organizes the event in cooperation and by the invitation of WIFT Finland and WIFT Sweden with WIFT Finland in charge of the event production. The WIFTI Helsinki Summit 2023 is supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Finnish Film Foundation, Hanaholmen Cultural Center, the West Finland Film Commission, City of Espoo, Turku Business Region, Helsinki City, and by Audiovisual Producers of Finland, Business Finland and Aurora Studios.

Curated by Marjaana Mykkänen, in collaboration with Helene Granqvist, Susan Liddy and Kirsten Schaffer, and in co-operation with the WIFTI Knowledge, Advocacy and Activism Committee.

Produced by Marjaana Mykkänen, in collaboration with Tiinaliisa Granholm of Hanaholmen and Jutta Ahtola of WIFT Finland.  Heidi Kokki, stage management, Erik Roos, sound, lights, and presentations, Fredrik Lundin, live stream and clips.

Communications and Publicity: Regina Mosch, Veera Lamminpää, Serena Serena Mmifinyana and Milli Mokkila, Social media: Päivi Kettunen, Grace Maharaj, Nina Maskulin and Johanna Wartio.  Minttu Mustakallio, general hosting.

Other volunteers: Jenni Laine, reception; Satu Mikkelinen, transport; Riikka Korhonen, main stage and auditorium; Johanna Wartio, management. With Tamara Aalto, Alicia Corpas; Katariina Kap, Anne Karttunen, Tomi Rantanen, Noora Ranne, Sattva-Hanna Toiviainen.


WIFTI Summit Logos



Registration is open until September 8, 2023.

The fee includes access to the Summit, lunch, afternoon tea/coffee service and WIF LA – WIFTI Peace Price Dinner on Saturday. Travel costs and accommodation are not included. Through the form below you will also find information about hotel reservations.

WIFTI members: 100€

Students: 50€

Non-WIFTI members:  180€

Supporting participants: 500€  (2 guests plus name in Summit publications)

Hotel prices, 128€ for a single room and 148€ for a double room, include breakfast.

Info on hotel reservations in the registration form.



An invitation letter for VISA or funding applications is available on the link below. If you need further assistance with it, please contact wiftsummit23@wift.fi




Foreign embassies in Helsinki



You can reach Helsinki by plane or by boat  from Stockholm, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia or Travemünde Germany.

The national airline Finnair has several European and continental direct flights https://www.finnair.com/en/destinations but many other airlines fly to Helsinki as well.

Helsinki Vantaa Airport is located 18 kilometers from the city center

from Tallinn

from Stockholm

from Travemünde

journey planner
Taksi Helsinki phone +358 100 0700 or app



The capital of Finland has 650 000 inhabitants and is surrounded by sea from east, south and west. Together with neighboring cities of Espoo (where Hanasaari is located), Vantaa and Kauniainen the greater Helsinki area has around a a million inhabitants.







Our partners at Helsinki International Film Festival are delighted to offer WIFTI Helsinki Summit attendees an accreditation badge to Finnish Film Affair at a special price.

HIFF – Love & Anarchy Film Festival takes place in Helsinki 14-24 September, with its industry event FFA –  Finnish Film Affair on 20-22 September.

Attendees of WIFTI Summit receive a 20% discount on international guest accreditation for Finnish Film Affair (deal price 144 euros, inc. VAT 10%).

Finnish Film Affair’s guest accreditation for international industry professionals includes:
– Guest accreditation for 3 days
– Lunches and dinners on event days
– Invites to networking events, such as a sauna evening on Thursday 21 September
– The help of our matchmaker, curating your meetings with hand-chosen projects
– Discount code for our festival hotel
– For access to film festival screenings at Love & Anarchy 14.-24.9.2023, an additional HIFF PRO badge can be purchased with 30 euros

Finnish Film Affair is the industry event of Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy and an international showcase of Finnish films and Nordic talent. Organised since 2012, approximately 500 film industry professionals from Finland and around the world attend the event each year. The event consists of panels, networking events, film screenings, and above all the esteemed showcase, which spotlights nearly 50 Finnish films each year, including four first or second-feature directors from our neighbouring Nordic countries. The 12th Finnish Film Affair will take place Wednesday-Friday 20-22 September 2023.

The Early bird accreditation to FFA will open on June 12 at their website https://hiff.fi/en/finnishfilmaffair/how-to-attend

Helsinki International Film Festival – Love & Anarchy is Finland’s biggest film festival which promotes the artistry of filmmaking alongside inventive, controversial and visually stunning new films. The festival is the number one place to experience films that would otherwise not be seen in Finnish theatres. The yearly festival programme consists of new films from well-known filmmakers and fresh talents alike. During its over 30-year lifespan, HIFF has expanded from two theatres to 18 screens and established itself as an 11-day homage to cinema. In 1988 the festival screened 26 films, whereas nowadays the programme consists of 140 feature films and 130 short films. Additionally, HIFF hosts its R&A Shorts National Competition, a variety of talks and panels, extracurricular parties throughout the festival, and has the joy of bringing guests the likes of  Spike Lee, Danny Boyle, Tilda Swinton, Naoko Ogigami, Jan Kounen, Aleksandr Sokurov, Baz Luhrmann, Philip Ridley, Nicolas Winding Refn, Jacques Audiard, Lucile Hadžihalilović, Terence Davies and Cristian Mungiu to Helsinki. The 36th HIFF – Love & Anarchy festival will be held 14.-24.9.2023.

The 36th Helsinki IFF screens films mainly from 2022 and 2023. The festival’s film selection is by invitation only, but you can still suggest your film by sending an email with synopsis and credits to outi@hiff.fi by June 9th. The festival will be in touch before the end of July in case it’s possible to consider the film for its next edition.

WIFTI x Cannes

WIFTI x Cannes

WIFTI x Cannes 2023

We are delighted to meet our global community at Cannes Film Festival 2023!


WIFTI Panel at Canes

Also, come along to Collectif 50/50’s events!


Collectif 50 50 in Cannes