Activists, Experts In Hollywood Demand Action To Achieve Greater Gender Equity

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A group six of leading entertainment industry insiders and activists on Monday affirmed that the goal of gender equity in Hollywood can be achieved if women continue to insist on change.

“Every time you ask difficult questions about this topic you create an uncomfortable atmosphere,”  said panelist Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, a public entity that finances film in Sweden, at a Wrap-sponsored panel focused on gender equity at the Cannes Film Festival.

But Serner said it was imperative to “count, count, count” the number of women to get to fully 50-50 equity. “Forty-sixty is rubbish,” she said.

Serner was one of the first women to adopt the “50/50 by 2020” mission to achieve full gender parity in the film industry, and in three years the institute has achieved just that in film funding, she said.

She was joined on the panel by veteran film producer and activist Cassian Elwes; film executive Chaz Ebert; actress Dionne Audain; Robin Bronk, CEO of the Creative Coalition; and documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker.

TheWrap and The Female Quotient Present "Changing Hollywood: The Road to 50/50 by 2020" at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, moderated by Sharon Waxman, audience

Also Read: Cannes Film Festival Signs Pledge for More Women Directors, More Transparency

TheWrap Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman led the panel in collaboration with The Girls’ Lounge at The Plage Majestic 71 in Cannes, which had a standing-room-only crowd of women and men, part of a wave of activations around the issue at the festival.

Over the past week the Cannes Film Festival has been consumed by the question of greater female inclusivity in front of and behind the camera. Festival organizers signed an historic pledge on Monday promising to commit to promoting greater numbers of women in senior positions, with the aim of breaking out of historically low female representation among directors in competition.

The panel debated inclusion, equality in the workplace, equal gender roles, and of course the lack of females currently working in the entertainment industry. “There is a plethora of female directors,” said Audain, questioning why they don’t work more.

Elwes brought up a recent study by Stacy Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which found that only 7 percent of the top 250 domestic grossing films last year were directed by women.

Elwes, who offered Dee Rees a career-making opportunity to direct last year’s Oscar contender “Mudbound,” suggested that every movie star could pledge to work with a woman on one film ever year.

Also Read: Cannes So Far: The Spotlight Belongs to the Women

TheWrap and The Female Quotient Present "Changing Hollywood: The Road to 50/50 by 2020" at the 71st Cannes Film Festival Chaz Ebert, Lucy Walker, Cassian Elwes and Robin Bronk

And on the first day on the set, Elwes said, “A female lead should walk up to the lead male movie star and ask how much is he being paid.”

Ebert, a former civil rights attorney who is also the CEO of Ebert Digital LLC, said that she wants to see more people of color in front and behind the camera.

Bronk the CEO of  The Creative Coalition which advocates for the arts said:  “Let’s think of it as a winnable political campaign.” This mission isn’t impossible to accomplish, “we need to solve the problem and not adore it,” said Walker.

See the video above for more.

Women in Cannes: A Short History of Small Victories and Decades of Male Dominance (Photos)

  • Adele Exarchopoulos Lea Seydoux Cannes

    From the time it first took place in 1946, the Cannes Film Festival has been dominated by male directors. Here are some milestones over the years when they did recognize the contributions of women.

  • Tres Dias Sem Deus

    1946: 

    Barbara Virginia, the first female Portuguese movie director, also becomes the first woman in competition at Cannes when the inaugural festival accepts her film “Tres Dias Sem Deus” as part of the lineup.  

  • Kinuyo Tanaka

    1954: 

    Two women are chosen for the main competition for the first time: Carmen Tocano for the documentary “Memories of a Mexican” (which she co-directed with her father Salvador) and Japanese actor-director Kinuyo Tanaka (above) with “Love Letter.”

     

  • Dolores Del Rio

    1957: 

    Mexican-born actress Dolores del Rio becomes the first woman to serve on the Cannes jury.

  • Story of the Flaming Years

    1961: 

    For the first time, Cannes’ best director award is won by a woman: Yuliya Solntsevaa Russian filmmaker who wins for her World War II drama “The Story of the Flaming Years.”

  • Olivia de Havilland

    1965: 

    Olivia de Havilland is named the first female president of the jury.

  • Mai Zetterling

    1968: 

    Swedish actress and director Mai Zetterling becomes the first woman to be selected for the main competition a second time.

  • The Piano

    1993: 

    Jane Campion wins the Palme d’Or for “The Piano,” making her the first (and so far the only) female director to take home Cannes’ top prize.

  • Cannes Jury 1998

    1998: 

    Women make up 50 percent of the Cannes jury for the first time, with five of the 10 seats going to writer-director Zoe Valdes and actresses Chiara Mastroianni and, left to right, Sigourney Weaver, Lena Olin and Winona Ryder.

  • Cannes jury 2009

    2009: 

    With the jury slimmed down to its current size, nine members, women are a majority for the first time. Actress Isabelle Huppert, center, is president, with actresses Sharmila Tagore, Robin Wright, Asia Argento and Shu Qi also serving.

     

  • Blue Is the Warmest Color Palme d'Or

    2013: 

    Two actresses, Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos, are pointedly awarded the Palme d’Or for “Blue Is the Warmest Color” alongside their male director, Abdellatif Kechiche. They remain the only performers to be so honored.

  • Sofia Coppola Cannes 2017

    2017: 

    Sofia Coppola becomes the second woman to win Cannes’ best director award, which she receives for “The Beguiled.”

1 of 12

From the first female director in competition to the first (and only) to win the Palme d’Or, here are a few milestones in a festival that hasn’t been welcoming to women filmmakers

From the time it first took place in 1946, the Cannes Film Festival has been dominated by male directors. Here are some milestones over the years when they did recognize the contributions of women.

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Source : https://www.thewrap.com/activists-experts-hollywood-demand-action-achieve-greater-gender-equity/

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