“You Cannot Be Serious – A Discussion on the Status of Women Directors” was a conference held in Berlin during the festival, sponsored by the International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund | Cologne and the Athena Film Festival in the U.S. under the auspices of the
. It was an unprecedented meeting with organizations and festivals from around the globe coming together for the first time to discuss strategies towards gender parity for women directors.
The event brought together over 150 film professionals -- directors, producers, cinematographers, screenwriters and festival programmers -- discussing multiple strategies to address the ongoing gender imbalance including:
• Gathering statistics from each country on the participation of women filmmakers;
• Raising awareness of the issue;
• Creating professional development and mentorship programs for women;
• Engaging film funds and financiers to support women’s projects;
• Developing campaigns to dismantle stereotypes regarding films by and about women;
• Organizing meetings at festivals and markets around the world.
Presentations at the meeting showed the important work happening around the globe. Tove Torbiörnsson of the Swedish Film Institute discussed their work towards gender parity. It includes debunking some of the long held myths related to women directors including the fact that there are not enough competent directors or that women don’t want to be directors. This work has become a model for other countries and institutions.
Creating a database of Nordic film directors to increase visibility
A mentoring program aimed at women filmmakers. The “Moviement” program has just been launched and teams up 10 active filmmakers (with at least one major production already on their resumé) with five established directors. The year-long program is aimed giving these women an increased understanding of business structures as well as other common obstacles.
Promoting role models and mentors for young female filmmakers
Intensified and regular monitoring of the outcome of different supports from the institute.
Francine Hetherington Raveney, Executive Director of EWA network (European Women’s Audiovisual Network) introduced independent research on female directors in Europe, in terms of box office gross and the extent to which they are supported by pan-European funding. In addition to setting up a pan-European database of females working in this industry which will be launched in May, EWA is also working to ensure that data is monitored throughout Europe and that relevant research initiatives are launched. In addition, the network is devising a range of training initiatives and is hosting ongoing networking events during key festivals throughout the year.
Mariel Macia, executive director of MICA, (Iberoamerican Network of Women in Film and Media), presented some of the projects that this Network is working on in collaboration with film institutes, festivals and women's organizations in Spain and Latin America. They are developing networking meetings in Markets, statistics and a web platform for networking that will contain a database of every movie directed by a woman in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. This platform that will be available in June 2013 will also contain a database of Iberoamerican female directors, producers, distributors, film festivals and film professionals that will have a password protected area to connected and network.
There are many ways to keep updated with the work happening across the globe.
The International Women’s Film Festival Network will begin tracking country statistics on the amount of women directed films released. We would like to add all women’s film festival to our database. There is a sign up page here. Their email is: iwffn[a]gmail.com and on twitter @iwffn. To be a part of further discussion join their google group. All you need to do to join is to email them and make a request to join. You will then receive an invitation.