Photo © Romuald Maginot
Delphine Crozatier, producer, Contrebande Productions.
Ilann Girard, producer, Arsam International.
Tristan Goligher, producer The Bureau Film Company.
Vanessa Djian, producer, Daï Daï Films.
Julia Langhof, filmmaker, Lomo.
Laurent Lavolé, producer, Gloria Films.
Françoise Pams, special advisor of the president of the CNC.
Pamela Pianezza, journalist, photographer, critic, Tess magazine.
Jérémy Zelnik, head of industry department in Les Arcs European Film Festival.
Fabienne Silvestre-Bertoncini, co-founder of Les Arcs Film Festival, responsible of Le Lab « Femmes de Cinéma ».
Geoffroy Grison, scriptwriter, co-president of Le Deuxième Regard.
Maria Raluca Hanea, Deputy Artistic Director for Les Arcs European Film Festival.
Flore Brabant, assistant, Le Lab « Femmes de Cinéma »
Guillaume Calop, co-founder and general manager of Les Arcs European Film Festival
Across the testimonies
Schooling. Mentalities change above all through schooling and teaching. Public action in this field is determining. A lot of cinema school graduated women do not integrate film teams and do not continue their career in cinema. They get involved in other professions in order to have a more stable income, more compatible with a family life when they have the project to do so.
New points of view. Female filmmakers bring strong and new points of view on some topics. A producer evoked two of his in-production films that have been directed by women. One is about the emancipation of a young woman and directed by a Syrian filmmaker, the other takes place in Southern Afghanistan and is directed by a French woman. They show strong and complex feminine characters in very masculine worlds.
Quota’s debate. The Anglo-Saxon approach of quotas is questioning because it can equivocate the judgement and pose the problem of the project’s quality. Finally, this system can disadvantage women. So, do we have to implement a quotas short-term policy, like the point system in Sweden or like Eurimage established, but that sometimes produces negative effects, or a changing mentalities long-term policy?
Motherhood. It is a difficulty for women to have children and to continue a filmmaker’s career, particularly regarding childcare. But more and more men are becoming involved in family life and they appreciate it. This enables women to get involved in their personal career on their own side. We must keep on going in this direction and develop measures to support working women with young children.
Media responsibility. Language is crucial on gender topics. Media build the mentalities through the words they use and the points of view they show. They have a fundamental role and must take into account women in cinema. As long as this does not change, there cannot be great progresses. Women must have the possibility to affirm their choices and to be treated equally.
The celebration of a phallic and masculine cinema. A producer relates that he produced for the first time a film directed by a woman and this movie was the hardest one he ever had to fund. About another film, whose main character was a woman, he explains that the only thing which seemed to interest the media when it was released was the sexual life of this character. She was almost called a “slut” because she had sex with two different men in two weeks.
The lateness of the industry on the gender equality topic. In politics and in private companies, quota laws and most of the debates about the position of women happened twenty years ago. In the cinema industry, this consideration barely begins.
Sexual harassment. It is an extremely recurrent problem in cinema and it was invisible until the Weinstein case. One of the participants tells the story of a young actress who was harassed by a famous actor, this one had already harassed other women. She tried to speak about it, to ring the alarm, to write an open letter, but no media reacted. When the Weinstein case came to light, the same media hastened to call her back to get her testimony.
Clichés. We have this feeling that films are expected to be more and more simplistic, with stereotyped characters, in big-budget American films as well as in French comedies. There is often a “reward” for the stereotype, as if it was more sales-orientated from a commercial point of view.
Budgets. Women have less important budgets than men to direct their films. Is it due to the lack of confidence funders have about women’s projects or the fact that they do not want to fight on this field?
« We must exclude two words when we talk about women filmmakers: sensitive and hysterical. »
« When a man is complaining about not knowing how to speak to women anymore, after Weinstein case, the answer is simple: Ask yourself if you would say the same thing to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson? »
« Cinema is a projection of the society’s archetypes. »
« I do not agree with the way harassment is presented by the media. For me, it is more a question about power than a question about gender. »
« You must be very brave to show yourself the way you are. »
« They said ‘You made a mistake, you wrote that the woman was handsome and the man was pretty ».
The idea box
- Considerate a lot more the words we are using (in storylines, media, speeches), avoid the sexist vocabulary, raise awareness among media.
- Establish childcare on film sets, particularly for sets which take place in remote places. Integrate this spending in the film’s budget. Also do this for festivals.
- Stimulate parity in film crew, by using a points system rewarding teams where we can find an equal number of women and men.
- Educate at all the levels of the school system to enable a general awareness on those issues.
- For every festival receiving public funds, require statistics on the number of female filmmakers in the competition and number of women in other key posts (production, scriptwriting…). The public funds granted to festivals should be conditioned by this information.
- Push tv channels to hire more female filmmakers in the series. Series seem to be more open to women directors because it is a more recent field. It would be interesting to compare data of female filmmakers in cinema with data of female filmmakers in series: global percentages, development of the career in the time…
Photo © Pidz
*For your consideration: confidentiality and publication rules of the Lab:
We use the Chatham House rule, from the famous British think tank. This rule is used in order to regulate the confidentiality of the information exchanged during a meeting. The principle is the following: when there is a meeting under the Chatham House rule, the participants are free to use the information they collected on this occasion, but they’re not allowed to reveal the identities or affiliation of the source of that information. This allows a greater freedom of speech and stronger stances. The list of the participants to the workshops is nonetheless public, in order to highlight the diversity and the quality of the attendees, and to give value to the ideas produced.