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Following the footsteps of major festivals including Cannes and Venice, five Nordic festivals have joined forces to sign the 50/50 by 2020 gender equality pledge.

Initiated by WIFT Nordic (Women in Film and Television), the pledge for gender parity and inclusion was signed Monday by officials from Sweden’s Carl, Denmark’s CPH:DOX, Oslo Pix in Norway, Tampere from Finland and Northern Wave in Iceland.

Through the pledge, the festivals committed to increasing gender equality in the programming, as well as within their staffing by 2020. The pledge has now been signed by most international festivals, from Cannes to Venice, Toronto, Locarno and Berlin.

“When it comes to structural and political change I believe in data and transparency and I
believe in commitment and collective awareness but before anything I believe in action,” said Tine Fischer, the festival director of CPH:DOX who started getting involved with the 50/50 by 2020 advocacy group last year.

“Within a year, without imposing quotas but only by rethinking how we define quality in selection and curation – massive changes have happened,” said Fischer.

This year, 45% of the films in CPH:DOX’s competition programs were directed by women and 52% of the projects selected for the fest’s financing forum were by women or mixed teams, according to Fischer. The fest’s board also boasts a 60% female representation.

Henrik JP Åkesson, the Carl festival director said that while “the Nordics countries consider (themselves) good at gender equality, (they) still have a lot to work to do, especially within the realm of film and film festivals.”

The signing took place during the Carl film festival and was attended by Åkesson; Fischer;
Ingebjørg Torgersen, the president of WIFT Norway who also represents Oslo Pix; Jenni Koski, the vice president of WIFT Finland, representing Tampere Film Festival; Dögg Mósesdóttir, the festival Director of Northern Wave Film Festival; and Helene Granqvist, the president of WIFT Sweden and WIFT international.