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INDUSTRY Europe

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Where are the female directors in European cinema?

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- At the 72nd Venice Film Festival, the European Women’s Audiovisual Network presented the first findings from its pan-European study on gender equality amongst European directors

Where are the female directors in European cinema?

At the 72nd Venice Film Festival, the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA) presented the first findings from its pan-European study on gender equality amongst European directors. Alexia Muiños, deputy director, and Holly Aylett, head of research, shared a platform with Silvia Costa, chair of the Committee on Culture and Education at the European Parliament.

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The EWA’s research builds on the findings of the European Audiovisual Observatory’s 2014 report, showing that women directed 16.3% of films between 2003 and 2012, and that female-directed films accounted for 8.9% of the total admissions. What is the experience of women at the national level that lies behind these figures, and what are the obstacles to progression, from entering the industry, through production, to a film’s release? 

The EWA’s evidence-based research indicates that measures need to be taken to ensure fair and proportionate support for female directors, enabling them to compete on an unlevel playing field of male privilege. The unequal representation of women goes against the spirit of the Bill of Human Rights, European treaties and UNESCO’s Convention on Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The EWA is calling for positive action by governments at the European and national levels to end the censorship of women’s view on the world.

Silvia Costa welcomed the EWA’s research and its timely intervention, stressing the urgent need for evidence-based indicators to inform action, and an approach that looks at the trajectory of women’s experience, not just their performance at the box office.

She called for a meeting with FEMM, the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – to also include the European Audiovisual Observatory and other interested players – once the final report is published in order to discuss measures to address the under-representation of women.

The conference was introduced by Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival, and addressed by Nicola Borrelli, director-general cinema – MiBACT, and Monica Parrella, director-general of the Office for Intervention, Department for Equal Opportunities at the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers. The discussion was moderated by Cristina Loglio, chair of the MiBACT Creative Europe Committee.

Present in the audience were the president of the Italian Film Commission Network; representatives of two of the principal authors’ associations, 100Autori and ANAC; the secretary general of MEDIA Salles; and the director of the Euro-Mediterranean Co-Production Forum in Apuglia.

Download selected first findings here - PDF (the EWA’s final research report will be released at the 2016 Berlinale).

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