Female stars and filmmakers at festival call for gender equality
More than eighty female screen stars and filmmakers joined forces at a major festival to turn the spotlight on the contribution of women to the film industry in the UK and around the world.
Actresses Rosamund Pike, Jessica Hynes and Andrea Riseborough gathered on London’s Southbank at the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival, calling for more films to be created by women and challenge the “male gaze” in cinema.
The stunt mirrored one at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, where 82 women, including Cate Blanchett, took part in a march on the red carpet calling for gender equality in the industry.
BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said it was time to “change an industry that has been far too male-dominated for years and years”. She said: “In fact, very shockingly, since the beginning of cinema in the UK, 93 per cent of films have been directed by men, which means we’ve seen cinema through the male gaze, so we need to get it tilted a bit.
“The festival is a place to start, there are 38 films and half of the films in competition are directed by women, so we’re on our way.”
Nevill said that her generation failed to make chang- es: “I really take my hat off to the millennial generation, because my generation was trying to make changes and we failed, and we needed that next generation to come up and really kick ass, frankly.
The BFI boss said she hopes that the “systemic” issue of women not getting into “positions of decision-making, economically, culturally and creatively” changes soon.
She said that the lack of women in positions of power in the film industry may have been partly to blame for the years of alleged misconduct that happened behind the scenes, and which was exposed last year with allegations being launched against the likes of Harvey Weinstein.
BFI is planning workshops to teach students what it is like to work on a film set, what is and is not unacceptable, and what they can do in certain situations without fear it will affect their career.
Rosamund Pike was one of the stars on the red carpet