Fe­male stars and film­mak­ers at fes­ti­val call for gen­der equal­ity

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By JOLENE CAMP­BELL

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

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