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Poland’s Gdynia Film Festival Signs Gender Pledge

The Gdynia Film Festival, Poland’s leading event for local movies, has signed the gender-parity pledge, following in the footsteps of Cannes, Locarno, Venice and Toronto.

The pledge was signed Friday by Gdynia’s general director, Leszek Kopec, and writer/director Wojciech Marczewski, who is head of the festival’s programming board. The pledge commits the festival to the following objectives: to set out a schedule for the implementation of changes aimed at achieving parity in all decision-making bodies of the festival; to maintain the festival’s transparency policy; to collect statistics on the gender of the directors of all the films submitted for selection; and to present at the festival’s next edition the results of actions taken by the management to achieve gender parity.

The pledge signing took place as the Polish branch of Women in Film, which represents more than 3,000 women working in the local industry, held a conference during the festival entitled “50:50 by 2020.” At the conference, Monika Talarczyk from Łódź Film School presented the results of research that found that only 13% of the Polish Film Institute’s budget was allocated to female filmmakers in the past 12 years. It compared these results with film funding decisions in other parts of Europe.

The conference opened with speeches by producer Renata Czarnkowska-Listoś and Berlin Silver Bear winning director Małgorzata Szumowska; the closing speech was given by Ewa Puszczyńska, producer of 2015 Oscar winner “Ida,” and “Cold War,” winner of this year’s best director prize.

Poland has seen a wave of protests by women’s rights campaigners in the past year in opposition to the conservative policies of the government, which has sought to further restrict those rights.

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