Women get a Grip in the film industry
We know them from the rolling credits at the end of a film. Grips are the people who are responsible for the building and maintaining all the equipment that supports cameras. This equipment – which includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs, cranes, and static rigs – is constructed of delicate yet heavy duty parts requiring a high level of experience to operate and move.
The grip has traditionally been a man’s job but things are changing thanks to the perseverance of women interested in doing the job and the support drawn from a union that knows the benefits of inclusion.
Less than a decade ago, Melissa Beaupre started out in the BC film industry as a Grip. At that time, she knew fewer than 10 women doing the job. Now she estimates there are upward of 40.
In one shining example of progress, the show, “Lost in Space,” had 18 grips - a third of which were women.
“Over the 15 years I’ve been a grip, it has been great to see the dynamic shift within the department. Now it isn’t a rarity to be, on any given day, working alongside at least one other female grip on set,” said Melissa.
“I can’t thank enough the fellow members and mentors I had early on. They were very supportive and encouraged me to pursue my interests even when there were few women in the fields I wanted to access.”
IATSE 891 has 19 departments representing the different film craft areas - many of which were male bastions for years. Today IATSE 891 has more than 3,000 women members, and growing.
It’s a great time for women to become part of the industry and a member of IATSE . Open your world to all the opportunities.