WFTV (UK) were honoured to add our voice to #CALLTOACTION 2019 at Berlinale, an international roundtable of women’s organisations in film and television led by Pro Quote Film and supported by Women and Hollywood and Auswärtigen Amt. Our Board member, Liz McIntyre was there to represent WFTV (UK) and has written this report from the event:
[All images by Dietmar Gust – gustfoto.com]
On Friday 8th February, I joined world-leading activists and organisations in Berlin to discuss the most urgent problems facing women, and those who identify as women, in our industry worldwide and to send out a collective call to action for gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
Welcomed by Pro Quote Film’s Chairwoman Barbara Rohm, it was an inspiring and vital day, beginning with exchanging news with old friends and new, including Sabaah Folayan, director of the outstanding Whose Streets? (which screened in competition at Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2017).
The discussion was moderated by Women and Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein and contributors raised issues ranging from how to ensure that the women in our industry are fully represented and that all voices are heard (often white educated women’s voices are still loudest); how to ensure that voices from around the globe are represented at international events (where the majority of voices are usually Western European); and the importance of outreach to break down gender, cultural, ethnicity, socio-economic, class and regional barriers to entry.
Deborah Williams, Executive Director of the UK’s Creative Diversity Network (CDN), spoke about the importance of asking, ‘What’s the Pre?’, meaning that those in decision-making roles should consider what is the backstory – the privilege, or lack of privilege – behind any potential talent before them.
The pressing need to gather comprehensive, detailed and accurate data, that analyses the full range and diversity of women within the industry, as well as offering solely a broad picture of gender parity, was raised as central and vital.
Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute summed up the ambition of the room and spirit of the event with her comment: “If women aren’t seen as significant in film, they aren’t seen as significant in life.”
Looking beyond the discussion, a series of demands were made as a call to action for the global film and TV industry. These are:
Equal access for female filmmakers to film funding and budgets.
Bridge the gender pay gap.
50/50 on all decision-making panels, from festivals to film funding to film awards.
Sexual harassment and violence needs to be dealt with on a legal level.
International film festivals to provide a platform for initiatives and associations designed to improve the situation for women filmmakers.
Contributors sign the pledge – with youngest activist centre stage!
On behalf of WFTV (UK) I would like to thank Pro Quote Film, Women and Hollywood, Auswärtigen Amt and all the other speakers and representatives present for an inspiring and energising event. We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure that the voices of women in film and television are heard and that our industry becomes truly inclusive for all.