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Berlin Film Festival Set to Sign Gender-Parity Pledge

The Berlin Film Festival is set to sign the gender-parity pledge that Cannes, Venice and other fests have also committed to.

Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick will sign the pledge Feb. 9 at a gathering sponsored by Women in Film and Television Germany, the festival confirmed Wednesday. The pledge was first initiated at Cannes last year by the French organization 5050×2020.

The protocol does not entail mandatory quotas, but commits the festival to achieving an even gender ratio in the organization’s top management. It also calls for transparency about the number of films submitted to the festival and the membership of its selection and programming committees.

In June, after Kosslick steps down after an 18-year tenure, the Berlinale is expected to become the only major festival with a woman at the helm. Mariette Rissenbeek, the managing director of promotional organization German Film, has been tapped to co-lead the Berlinale along with Carlo Chatrian, the current head of the Locarno Film Festival.

This year’s Berlinale features seven competition titles directed by women out of a total slate of 17 films – far greater than the number at Cannes last year (three) or Venice (just one).

“With the participation of women, especially directors, the Berlinale has been engaging in parity for a long time, even before the current debate began,” Kosslick said in a statement. “Since 2004, we have been publishing the participation of female directors in the overall program. In this year’s competition, 17 films compete for the Bear Awards, seven of which are by female directors. Even if this still isn’t parity, this is a good development.”

The day before the pledge signing, there will also be a launch event for 10% for 50/50, a new European financial incentive program for gender-equal productions, and for the Alliance of Women’s Networks, a new European umbrella organization for groups advocating gender equality in the film industry.

The 69th Berlin Film Festival runs Feb. 7-17.

Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.

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