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Conference on gender equality at Sarajevo's Regional Forum


- The conference “Women in today’s film industry: gender issues. Can we do better?” will take place at Sarajevo Film Festival on 14 August

Conference on gender equality at Sarajevo's Regional Forum

Representatives of ministries for culture and film funds from across Europe will gather in Sarajevo on Friday, 14 August for the high-level conference “Women in today’s film industry: gender issues. Can we do better?” There, a European declaration on gender equality in film will be drafted.

Over the past few years, the issue of women’s position in the film industry has increasingly been debated regarding: the systematic underrepresentation of female directors in competitions at most major festivals, and the lack of gender equality in terms of access to the industry, working conditions and attitudes towards female filmmakers, just to name a few aspects. 

Now, in connection with the opening of the 21st Sarajevo Film Festival, a high-level conference on the topic has been organised, using a framework by the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, who have identified gender equality as one of their priorities. It will result in the drafting of a Sarajevo declaration on women in film, including proposed measures for achieving greater equality in film.

Expert panellists include: Isabel Castro, Deputy Executive Director at the Eurimages film fund; Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, a leading organisation in action and data monitoring on this topic; Iris Zappe-Heller of the Austrian Film InstituteAida Begić, award-winning Bosnian filmmaker; Holly Aylett, head of research for the European Women’s Audiovisual Network and author of an upcoming study on gender equality in film, and Sanja Ravlić, president of the Eurimages Gender Equality Working group.

Bosnian and Herzegovinian Minister of Civil Affairs Adil Osmanović, will open the meeting, while Almir Šahović, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, permanent representative to the Council of Europe, will conclude the conference. The ministries of civil and foreign affairs have organised the conference, together with Sarajevo Film Festival.

Osmanović says: "Given the impact films have on society as a whole it is vital that women play a greater role in both film and the film industry." 

According to Šahović, "This is in line with the Council of Europe’s position on gender equality and its importance for a democratic European society, which respects the rule of law and human rights. A declaration and further recommendations on the topic would put Europe in a trailblazing position at international level in this area." 

The director of Sarajevo Film Festival, Mirsad Purivatra, says: "Gender equality is something the industry needs to work on, keep talking about but also know more about. Facts can pave the way for action. In Southeast Europe, the situation in many ways looks good, with many of our leading filmmakers being women. But there's an overall lack of statistics. That's why we're especially happy to host this conference in connection with our own Regional Forum which since the start has been all about raising the level of knowledge, discussing the burning industry issues, and together finding ways for going forward." 

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