In the wake of a litany of reports of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment world, conversations are underway about how industry professionals can collectively drive cultural change. This edition of Breakfast at TIFF explored what can be done to help create a safer working environment for people within the film sector, featuring filmmakers and representatives from the Canadian Media Producers Association, the Directors Guild of Canada, and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.

7:30 a.m. is not a time of day when I’m usually able to keep up a lively, insightful debate, but thankfully this wasn’t the case for the amazing panelists at TIFF’s early morning discussion on confronting sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

In a time of great industry upheaval, the panelists were awake, engaged, and ready to have crucial conversations.

The Canadian film sector, they noted, is seeing the truth about gender-based violence come out everywhere, and each #MeToo message is an important reminder that gender-based violence can’t be ignored any longer.  I was there to bring you the latest from panelists Marguerite Piggott, Catherine Middleton, Martin Katz, Theresa Tova, Patricia Rozema, Melanie Chung, Alix Herber, and moderator Nicole Stamp.

The panelists started off by recognizing that although sexual violence is present in other workplaces, the entertainment industry is where the spotlight is right now. That means they need to set an example.

#MeToo was eye-opening for some of the panelists, while others were very aware of the industry-wide sexual violence problem.

Many of the organisations represented on the panel have already developed plans for how to move forward and best support their members during this difficult time. 

Why do we need change? Many workplace leaders in Canadian film and television have seen women leave the industry because of sexual violence.

In order to make sure that the  industry is supporting survivors in the right way, we need to have conversations like this one and use them as a foundation  for action.

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