Representatives from European film funds and ministries of culture passed a declaration embracing gender equality in the industry on the first day of the Sarajevo Film Festival (August 14-22).
The declaration came out of a high-level conference attended by experts from all over Europe, including the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA), called “Women in Today’s Film Industry: Gender Issues. Can We Do Better?” The answer to the conference’s question was an emphatic yes, with the declaration assuming the position that “a true democracy must make full use of the skills, talents and creativity of women and men alike.”
The declaration also includes the following agenda for participating agencies and organizations:
–assess disparities and analyse the causes and factors leading to the marginalisation of women in the various sectors of the film industry
–encourage member states to adopt equality policies aimed at promoting women in the
film industry and improving their access to public funding
–develop and apply appropriate measures for reducing inequality and improving gender
balance in decision-making posts in the industry and within selection panels,
institutions for education and training, juries, festivals etc., in particular by enhancing
prospects for women
–enhance the visibility and recognition of female filmmakers, welcome their work and
celebrate their successes, in particular by setting up a prize at a festival and organizing a
season of screenings in collaboration with a relevant theatre network
–raise awareness of the status of women in film, both as regards on-screen representation and in professional terms
–encourage film-makers to be more sensitive to on-screen female representation
Isabel Castro, deputy executive director at the Eurimages film fund, told Screen Daily: “From 2000-2012, the average number of films directed by women in Europe was 16.3%, and this has not really increased in the last five years.
“In France — the biggest producer of films in Europe — the average is 22%. We need to explore why these figures are so low.
“Analysis shows that the proportion of women in film schools is even so they start in the profession but don’t become directors. They are made to think it is too ambitious and aren’t encouraged to become directors.
“There is also a drop when it comes to women making a second film. Things will improve when women are allowed to fail as much as men.”
Francine Raveney, EWA Director and Eurimages Project Manager, told Women and Hollywood, “This declaration is an important first step, as it gives a mandate for the Eurimages film fund to take some pro-gender-equality measures. The declaration will also be discussed at a high-level meeting involving representatives of 47 governments. It is expected that they will approve preparations for a recommendation, which would impact on how 47 countries manage their public funding for film with gender equality firmly in mind.”