Women’s Films Still Rare at Venice and Other Festivals
Despite the growing number of female filmmakers, a stark gap remains in their appearance at festivals, as represented in some of the most recent and upcoming film festivals.
The 75th Venice International Film Festival will take place at Venice Lido from August 29th to September 8th, 2018, and its lack of female representation has concerned many. The head of the film festival, Alberto Barbera, spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about criticism leveled at Venice after it chose only one female director alongside 20 male directors for the second year in a row.
“Putting another film in the main competition just because it’s made by a woman, from my point of view, that would be really offensive for the director,” Barbera said.
Other international film festivals are finding themselves in a similar situation. Of the 17 films represented at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, only three come from female filmmakers. This in spite of the fact that Cate Blanchett served as the jury president for the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and three other women including Ava Duvernay and Kristen Stewart served on the jury.
“I would prefer to change my job if I would be forced to select a film only because it’s made by a woman and not on the basis of the quality of the film itself,” Barbera told the Hollywood Reporter. However, his ideals are not universally shared, as many film companies are using inclusion riders to ensure the film industry maintains a certain level of diversity.
Inclusion riders are provisions added to actors’ contracts to ensure inclusivity of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities and disabilities. For many, the conversation surrounding inclusion riders was sparked after actress Frances McDormand’s acceptance speech for Best Actress at the 2018 Oscar awards. “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider,” McDormand said.
This sparked a reaction of support from many prominent production companies, including Feigco Entertainment, Outlier Society, and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street.
“Of course, I would be happy to have more females at the festival,” Barbera told The Hollywood Reporter. “But it doesn’t depend on me.”