×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

European Industry Says ‘Enough of Dismissing Harassment,’ Launches New Initiative

After #MeToo in the U.S., the European film business is making its voice heard on harassment, with the launch in Berlin on Saturday of a region-wide initiative called Speak Up. The plan is to offer a reporting service for victims and to clamp down on abuse in the workplace and – fittingly, given the Berlinale launch-pad – at festivals.

Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, who has “Mug” in competition at Berlin, unveiled Speak Up to a raucous reception in Berlin. “The European film industry has decided to unite under the banner of Speak Up,” she said. “We aim to offer a clear lead in ensuring sexual harassment and abuse are not tolerated in the work environment, whether it be offices or in the markets and festivals.”

She said that there was systemic abuse in the workplace and that the industry needed new policies, procedures and training on harassment and abuse. In practical terms, Speak Up will offer an email helpline service for people who have complaints; a lawyer will evaluate the complaints pro-bono and establish the next steps.

Speak Up was launched at Closing the Gap, an event hosted by Women in Film and Television Germany, WIFT Nordic, and the Swedish Film Institute. Szumowska added her voice to that of fellow directors Barbara Albert and Isabel Coixet, who spoke Wednesday about a new European ruling on harassment and new figures revealing the scope of the industry’s gender gap.

Popular on Variety

On its website, Speak Up said: “Enough of dismissing inappropriate groping and fondling as drunken behavior or harmless flirting. Enough of dismissing harassment and bullying as ‘banter’ and the victims as lacking a sense of humor.” There followed a seven-point manifesto that calls on employers to post prominent notices setting out rights and grievance processes. It recommends similar action at festivals, noting that “people working in the industry may be at their most vulnerable outside the office at markets and festivals.”

Earlier this week, the British entertainment industry, led by BAFTA and the British Film Institute, issued industry-wide guidelines on preventing and confronting harassment and abuse. The principles and guidelines were developed after months of consultation with more than 20 industry groups.

The Speak Up initiative comes amid controversy in Berlin over the festival’s invitation to South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk, who was recently accused of sexually assaulting an actress. German culture minister Monika Gruetters also put #MeToo center stage when she told the opening-night audience, “The time for silence really must come to an end.”

More Film

  • Days of Christmas

    Pau Freixas on Netflix Spanish Miniseries ‘Days of Christmas’

    BARCELONA – A Netflix original produced by Spain’s Filmax, “Days of Christmas” marks the new series of Pau Freixas, one of the highest-profile creators on Spain’s vibrant drama series scene. A three-part miniseries, “Days” will be made available worldwide by Netflix on Dec. 6. The story takes place over three different Christmas days, the first [...]

  • Writers-Room-Panel

    Ventana Sur: Argentine Directors on Benefit of Writers’ Room (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Ventana Sur hosted two of the country’s leading screenwriters to relay the benefits of utilizing a writers’ room while conceptualizing fiction projects, delivered to a packed auditorium on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Fiction Factory series held at the UCA Campus in Puerto Madero. Director Daniel Burman, known for films such [...]

  • Kathleen Kennedy to Receive Prestigious BAFTA

    Kathleen Kennedy to Receive Prestigious BAFTA Fellowship

    Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm and producer of scores of movies, will receive a prestigious BAFTA fellowship, the British Academy’s highest honor, in February. Across a 40-year career, Kennedy has produced pictures that have garnered 25 Oscars and more than 100 BAFTA nominations and 27 wins. She will be honored with the fellowship at BAFTA’s [...]

  • Lee Byung-hun stars in "The Man

    Lee Byung-hun’s ‘Man Standing Next’ Secures 2020 Asia Theatrical Releases (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showbox’s political drama “The Man Standing Next” has secured releases in multiple territories in Asia. The film was picked up by Falcon for Indonesia, The Klockworx for Japan, Viva Communications for the Philippines, Shaw Renters for Singapore and by Moviecloud for Taiwan. Release dates in each territory have yet to be confirmed. Set 40 days [...]

  • Lulu Wang and Zhao Shuzhen'The Farewell'

    Zhao Shuzhen on Stealing Scenes in Her First American Movie, 'The Farewell'

    A year ago, 76-year-old actor Zhao Shuzhen shot her first American movie, “The Farewell,” based on writer-director Lulu Wang’s very personal family story. In November, Shuzhen found herself making her first visit to the States, where she earned standing ovations from audiences and posed for pictures with stars like Robert Pattinson at parties. Then she [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Director Lorene Scafaria

    'Hustlers' DP Todd Banhazl Discusses How Not to Shoot With the Male Gaze

    Cinematographer Todd Banhazl had to rethink conventional wisdom in shooting Jennifer Lopez starrer “Hustlers.” What sort of approach did you and director Lorene Scafaria discuss in terms of how you were going to shoot the women and create these strong images of strippers? From the beginning, we talked about this idea of control and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content