Sarajevo Film Festival Signs Gender-Parity Pledge

The Sarajevo Film Festival has signed the 5050×2020 Charter, the latest festival to adopt the plan for narrowing the gender gap.

Organizers in Sarajevo said the move was the festival’s “contribution to the establishment of gender parity and inclusion in the film industry.” Sarajevo director Mirsad Purivatra signed the charter Wednesday.

First introduced this year in Cannes, the charter contains several pledges, such as compiling gender-based statistics on the films submitted and selected for participation and having an equal share of women in managerial positions at festivals.

A large crowd of directors, actresses, jury members, producers and other film industry workers gathered Wednesday on the red carpet in front of Sarajevo’s National Theater in a show of support for the move as well as for the high representation of women in all segments of the festival.

The festival said it was joining the effort for full equality by 2020 and sending “a strong message to the film community and the world on gender equality.” The film industry is still struggling for gender parity both in front of and behind the camera, especially in leadership positions, the festival said in a statement.

In Sarajevo’s main regional feature film competition, four out of the 10 titles were directed by women, while six out of the 17 filmmakers taking part in the documentary competition are women. In the international Kinoscope sidebar, eight out of 17 selected works are by women. Female filmmakers are also well-represented in the festival’s other sections.

Speaking to Variety, Mathilde Henrot, Kinoscope’s co-programmer, said the section’s films simply represented reality. “In many countries, half of the film school graduates are women and they manage to direct great films. And we have the chance to watch those films and are happy to be able to show them.”

In addition to Cannes and Sarajevo, the Locarno Film Festival has also signed the charter.

The Venice Film Festival recently came under fire from the European Women’s Audiovisual Network and other advocacy groups over the lack of female directors in its lineup. The network has called on Venice to follow Cannes and Locarno in signing the equality charter.

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