Fiji Water Is Using the Golden Globes to Kick Off an Initiative Supporting Female Directors

Donating up to $100,000 to AFI's Directing Workshop for Women

Dee Rees (Mudbound), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) directed some of the most talked-about films of 2017.
Sources: Getty Images

Drink water, snap a photo and help up-and-coming female directors? That’s the proposition Fiji Water has set up for stars during tonight’s Golden Globes and the awards season at large.

For every star photographed sipping Fiji Water during tonight’s Golden Globes red carpet—and upcoming awards shows like the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Film Independent Spirit Awards, where Fiji Water is the official water—the brand will donate $1,000 (up to $100,000) to the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. As part of its new program, One Sip Forward, Fiji Water is looking to use its red carpet position at awards ceremonies to make a statement about female directors.

“We were looking at this year’s award-show season and getting ready to do the kind of same stuff that we’d always do, but it’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that there’s so much more going on … what’s happening in Hollywood and how females are not only treated personally but also professionally, how underrepresented they are in some of the creative categories in particular,” said Darren Moran, chief creative officer at The Wonderful Company, Fiji Water’s parent company.

Moran continued: “We honed in pretty quickly on directing in particular. This was before the nominations came out and no female [directors] were nominated. That kind of put a punctuation on the whole thing. It’s one of those issues where it’s how do we solve this? We’re at an inflection point with the greatest opportunity to make the greatest impact in improving things in Hollywood, not just in the way people are treated but in the opportunities for females.”

While directors like Dee Rees (Mudbound), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) had some of the buzziest films of 2017, none of them—no female directors—received a best director nomination for this year’s Golden Globes.

“Only 4 percent of all directors across the 1,100 top films from 2007 to 2017 were female, a ratio of 22 males to every one female director,” said Clarence Chia, vice president of marketing for FIJI Water, in a statement. “We all know great talent is out there, and we want to help support female filmmakers. Therefore, we’re teaming up with the AFI to launch the FIJI Water One Sip Forward program to support their Directing Workshop for Women.”

During 2018, the company will work with the women selected for AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women to feature their work and support their fundraising efforts.

The idea of supporting female directors, Moran noted, came from a recently hired young female creative team, copywriter Dana Tiel and junior art director Michelle John.

“This was one of the first assignments, and it wasn’t even the ask,” he said. “As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the right idea. We quickly pivoted from doing social posts to doing something much bigger, bolder.”

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