Gender equality has been among the hottest of topics on the film-festival circuit these last few years, with Cannes earning praise for recent developments and Venice earning criticism for a lack of female filmmakers in competition. With the Locarno Film Festival underway, festival president Marco Solari and vice president Carla Speziali have signed the Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals. An initiative of the Swiss Women’s Audiovisual Network (SWAN), the Pledge has also been signed by Cannes.
The Pledge’s commitments are as follows:
- To compile statistics according to gender, especially those regarding the number of films submitted, in order to support SWAN with reliable data.
- To disclose the list of the appointed members of selection committees and programmers, the aim being to eliminate any suspicion of a lack of diversity and parity while allowing the festivals to fully pursue their editorial and strategic choices.
- To commit to a transformation schedule of the executive bodies of festivals to reach parity progressively and at the earliest opportunity.
- This will enable SWAN to produce an annual report allowing an assessment of progress made.
“We are thrilled about this first step towards equality and diversity in festivals,” said SWAN co-presidents Gabriel Baur, Laura Kaehr and Stéphane Mitchell. “Just as with budgets and funding, women are entitled to an equal share of the spotlight and the screens. Visibility of our films is essential.”