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International Conference: Women in the cinema industry

In the city of Zagreb, on 21-22 February 2019, the International Conference “Women in the cinema industry” was held, organized by the Croatian Film Director’s Guild (DHFR), the management society for Directors and Screenwriters of Croatia, convoking representatives and Authors of International Federations, management societies and key referring persons of the cinema industry.

With the presence of Pauline Durand Vialle, Executive Director of FERA- Federation of European Cinema Directors – Carmen Guarini, Argentine Documentalist and member of the Directors Board of DAC – Directors Argentina – and Kristina Börjeson, representative of Eurimages – European Cinema Fund; producers such as Bianca OIana, from Romania; the French journalist Véronique Le Bris; and actresses Mirjana Karanović and Neda Arnerić, the colloquium was presented in five talks :

1) Is It a Man’s World?, with the presence of women representatives of Eurimages, the Federation of European Directors (FERA) and Media Office of Croatia;

2) Three Experiences, shared between a Romanian producer and a renowned Serbian actress, who talked about their respective experiences; in that space, I presented the Argentine case.

And 3) All About Eve,

4) What Women Want and

5) Mary Poppins Returns created an opportunity to listen to Actresses, Directors, Producers of the region respectively (from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and three guests from the Netherlands, France and Italy).

The Argentine case – towards a new paradigm” was also presented – exposition which was the result of the consultation of the data elaborated by the women´s audiovisual organizations, who work actively in Argentina, to implement gender equity policies in our field, mainly MUA and ACCIÓN MUJERES.

Pauline Durand Vialle, from FERA, explained: “I work on the subject of gender equality, and am particularly focused on salary issues – because, thanks to several studies we carried out in 2017, we found a great difference in remunerations, signed contracts and also author’s ´rights. We made a thorough analysis and used those findings to talk about these subjects with our representatives in the EU, to change the rules of the MEDIA program and find mechanisms which facilitate equality in the managements of the funds for men and women. We work with our member representatives in European countries to see where they stand as far as public policies and efficiency levels, and thus evaluate what kind of methods – be those instalments or rules in the equilibrium f/m, in the commissions, who decide public financing of films”.

On her end, FRANCINE RAVENEY also works on the subject of gender, from the inside of the European Council in EURIMAGES, which is a fund constituted of 38 countries plus Canada: “I am in charge of Project analysis and gender subjects as well. The CE has been working on the latter for many years, and has prepared a guide so that countries, syndicates, producers and directors can improve their situation towards equality. Our objective is 50/50 in 2020. We would like to highlight, as well, that we give the Audience Award price, of thirty thousand Euros, to the best woman Director, which changes countries every year. Last year it went to a Director in Toronto, and this year it went to a Swedish Director, in Goteborg. Another point of our strategy is a reunion, every three months, to deal with sensibilization in different Eurimages countries, to give visibility to women directors, producers and composers. The most recent meeting was in December, in Tbilisi, Georgia. We invited Young women directors, to talk about the different problems in Georgia. And in March, we will have another one in Bucharest, Romania.”

Teona Strugar Mitevska – Cinema Director – from the Republic of Macedonia presented a very difficult scenario for women directors – “As far as I know, I was the first woman that made a feature film in Macedonia. That was in 2004. My first feature film, HOW I KILLED A SAINT. As from then, no other woman in Macedonia has made a film. Only recently, in the last call for Project presentations, in May, a young woman director was granted the funds for her first feature film, so she will be filming in September. On the other hand, we have a long standing tradition of documentaries, with more woman directors working, as well as in short films. It is a men´s world. The decisions are taken by men; there are very few women in position to make decisions. And I believe this affects the result as well. In the rest of the countries of the region, the situation is just as bad. For example, in Serbia, lately, cinema has risen to great heights. And they have one woman producer, maybe two. I believe the best positioned women in the field, from this region, are the Bosnians – as in Bosnia there are three woman directors of international recognition: AIDA BEGIĆ, JASMILA ŽBANIĆ, and a new woman director, INA STANKOVIC. Between scriptwriters and producers, there are also better positioned than the rest. In Slovenia, they are not very well either. Croatia had a couple of very good woman directors. But we are very far away from 50/50, or of any share for that matter. We are around a 5% or 3%. It´s ridiculous. Really, it´s scary”.

As the final touch of the conference, the talk “Who is Writing History of film”? , from which the critic and journalist from France Veronique Le Bris, presented a short documentary, Women Pioneers in European Cinema, from which she does not only plead top put an end to the hidden presence of women pioneers in European cinema, but as well strives to promote the central figure of Alice Guy, Predecessor of the Lumiere brothers in the production of French cinema. She was the first person to direct a Fiction film, being a pioneer in special effects, filmic science fiction, cinematographic language and the originator of what later would be the professions of producer and executive producer. As well, she was the first person to economically sustain themselves through such profession. She filmed more than 1000 films in her life, founded several production companies in France and the USA and strived to be internationally recognized as a Director, Actress and Producer.

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