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Four Steps Back - NO Women Directors in Competition at Cannes

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood April 19, 2012 at 7:18AM

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Cologne, Germany having arrived yesterday at International Frauen Film Festival for the second year in a row.  I came back this year because I had such a great time last year meeting and talking with so many women directors and I really love the people who run this festival.
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This puts a very bitter taste in my mouth.  I am so grateful that I am in a place where I am surrounded by women with strong visions.  I can't wait to get to the movie theatre this evening to be relieved of the grand misogyny that envelopes the film business.

I feel like I repeat myself everytime something like this happens -- with far too much regularity -- that something must be done about this.  I know that women directors want to be seen as directors and not as women directors but they also want their movies seen and taken seriously and that is just not happening. 

I know I will get into trouble for saying this but I think that festival directors need to decide that they will include women directors in at least 20% of the slots.  Yes, it will take some more work.  Yes, you will have to watch movies that you might not get because you are so fixated on the male being universal and the female as being other.  Yes, you will have to occasionally endure seeing and hearing about vaginas and other things women experience.  Here's a thought, maybe you could send people to places that say play films by women directors to see what's out there and see what people are working on. 

People will need to be "affirmative" in deciding that the inclusion of women makes their festival better and more reflective of the culture as a whole.  Until the festival directors believe they are missing something by not including women, there will never be progressive change.  There will always be one step forward and one step backward -- or in this year's case, four steps backward.

This article is related to: Sexism, Women Directors, Maiwenn, Lynne Ramsey, Cannes Film Festival