THE MOMENTUM that has been growing to redress the balance in gender inequality in film, can be seen here in Cannes this year, with a series of initiatives aimed at both shedding light on the situation and changing it. Indeed. This year, there are only three films directed by women in competition at the Festival de Cannes. Perhaps the most high-profile of these initiatives is the Kering Women In Motion Talks, which are putting the spotlight on women working in the film industry, and those who have made change. Speakers include Geena Davis who is behind a series of female filmmakers initiatives, including a festival that she launched focused on women in film. Also in Cannes, the “We Can Do It Together” filmmaker initiative seeking to empower women though film, will hold a press conference on Sunday announcing their first feature. This non-profit organisation seeks to finance and produce content that allows women to be creatively recognized, and to change the perceptions of female stereotypes within a male-dominated industry, according to a statement issued on Wednesday. Filmmakers involved in this organisation, include Jessica Chastain, Queen Latifah, Juliette Binoche, Freida Pinto, Ziyi Zhang, Catherine Hardwicke, Alysia Reiner, Amma Asante, Marielle Heller, and Phil Lord. Representatives are also in town for the only festival dedicated to female filmmakers in Chile – http://femcine.cl/ And on Tuesday May 17, there is a Women in Technology session, with Hewlett Packard. The Trailblazers Reinventing the Art of Technology session features the director of VR film Giant, Milica Zec, and Dreamworks Animation’s Head of Technology Communications and Strategic Alliances Kate Swanborg. And a number of studies are presenting their findings.this includes the European Women’s Audiovisual Network’s Study on Gender Equality from 2006-2013. Supported by Kering, the study, looked at seven European territories and the lack of female directors working in the film industry. Some of the results are as follows. Only one in five films in the seven European countries studied is directed by a woman (21%). The vast majority of funding resources (namely 84%) go into films that are not directed by women. Low funding perpetuates the scarcity of female-directed films in circulation, in turn affecting the markets’ willingness to invest and thus creating a vicious circle. There is a significant difference between the proportion of female directors graduating from film schools (44%) and the overall proportion of female directors working in the industry (24%).
by Andrea Arnold.