Diversity initiative Free the Bid is expanding its footprint to include a colorist category to its representation of women directors, directors of photography and editors. The move, done with the support of creative studio Ntropic, expands the movement’s mission to promote equal opportunities for women across the full production pipeline.
Since its inception, the non-profit has transformed the sourcing of creative talent – beginning with the simple pledge that agencies and brands insist on at least one bid from a woman director on every triple-bid advertising job.
“Free the Bid was born in September of 2016, founded by director Alma Har'el to address the systemic bias that has prevented women directors from finding equal opportunity in advertising,” stated executive director of Free the Bid, Emma Reeves. “After less than two years, Free the Bid's global database has expanded to include listings for women editors, DOP collectives, and now colorists, alongside the profiles of 700-plus women directors all around the world.”
Helena Lee, executive producer at Ntropic, was inspired with the idea of adding a colorist category after seeing the huge impacts of Free the Bid on the advertising community in New York. Lee noted: “Free the Bid has transformed the bidding process with an ever-growing number of agencies and brands asking for female creative talent on every job. Color has always been an integral part of production, so it’s only natural for colorists to be included as a part of the package. We’re glad to be at the forefront of showcasing the incredible female talent in this category.”
In support of the expansion, Lee and Ntropic colorist Ayumi Ashley compiled an international list of women colorists, which recently launched on the Free the Bid website. Ashley, who started her career by successfully co-founding her own finishing facility in San Francisco, said: “By including colorists alongside directors and editors, Free the Bid is raising visibility for what has traditionally been a very behind-the-scenes role. That feels like an exciting development for all colorists. I’m happy to have helped create this directory for those wanting to bring more women into their creative process, and hopefully inspire a future generation of colorists.”
Reeves added: “With the launch of our database of women colorists, we are thrilled to continue the natural expansion of our mission, advocating for women in all roles across the production pipeline. We want to extend a huge thank you to Helena and Ayumi at Ntropic and all of the other company representatives who have been instrumental in making this project into a reality. At this rate, anyone who's not checking our site on a daily basis is really missing out – watch this space."
Free the Bid has received growing support since its founding, with renewed funding by HP, and plenty of pledges of support by agencies and brands alike, including the Martin Agency and liquor giant Diageo, among many others.