SAN SEBASTIAN — Spain’s San Sebastian Festival signed a pledge on gender parity Sunday, following in the footsteps of other major festivals in Europe such as Cannes, Locarno, Sarajevo and Venice.
San Sebastian Festival director José Luis Rebordinos made the commitment in the presence of Spanish deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo; the minister of culture and sport, José Guirao; the president of the festival’s board of directors and mayor of San Sebastian, Eneko Goi; and the president of Spain’s Assn. of Women Cineastes (CIMA).
Speaking at a press conference, Rebordinos pointed out that in some executive areas, women’s presence is higher than men’s. The fest permanent staff is made up 82% of women; four of its seven board members are female, he noted.
In a recent statement, the fest announced that next year its film selection committee, currently five men and four women, will have a fifth female member, the festival’s head of communications, Ruth Pérez de Anucita.
With this pledge, the Spanish festival made the same commitment to gender analysis and transparency already taken on by other big European festivals, promising to gather statistics broken down by gender, regarding both the number of movie submissions and those chosen and programmed, in order to obtain real and reliable data on women representation and issue an annual update on progress made.
San Sebastian already publishes details of its selection committee and programmers.
Coinciding with the parity pledge, CIMA issued a 2017 report. Some stats:
*Women directed 12% of fiction features, produced 26% of them, and wrote 13%. of titles.
*Women accounted for a 24% of executive positions in the Spanish film industry, down from 29% in 2015 and 30% in 2016.
*Of 12 film categories, women had a higher presence in just two: Costume design and hair and makeup.
*Categories where women figure least are cinematographer, sound, soundtrack and F/X, all below 10%.
Per film types, the area with the most robust presence of men is animation, where women account for just 10%. In documentaries women stand at 16% and in fiction, the percentage last year was 27%, –again down on 2015 (29%), and 2016 (30%). In the light of the findings, women still have a long way to go to achieve parity.
Rebordinos said: “There have been people that congratulate us, because we have five women [out of 18 films at competitive section, five are directed by women]. It’s insane. It’s nothing to be proud of.”
“The simple fact of focusing in a critica fashion on the absence of professional women in certain jobs, the absence of interesting (roles) for the actresses, is already a positive indicator,” CIMA vice-president Virginia Yagüe told Variety, adding: “Equality used to be taken for granted in an opened-minded and enlightened sector like ours and this prevented us from developing a critical analysis which could have set out our deficit in gender matters.”
Carmen Calvo said at the press conference to applause that “women just want to be able to compete with equal opportunities because we know we win.” She added: “Women just want to be in all the places that we justly deserve to be. Without us, there’s no democracy; with us, democracy gets better.”