CANNES — On the heels of its second edition, Canneseries has signaled a renewed commitment to the questions of gender parity that still rock the television industry, while also looking to push the conversation further still.
“We can see that we’re in a context that includes Me Too and the various scandals about harassment and inequality,” Canneseries President Fleur Pellerin tells Variety.
“We’re at a moment where everybody wants to sign a charter then wash their hands and walk away, but that’s not our approach. We have many women on our team, and with our various programs we really intend to reflect not only on male/female relations, but to interrogate the larger questions of gender itself,” she continues.
To that end, Pellerin and staff have launched a four-point plan called “Gender & Series” that they have already been implementing for several months.
First step was an education and awareness campaign, aimed at Canneseries’ wider public and its own programing staff. Since late December, the festival has published a weekly newsletter highlighting various studies, statistics and pertinent areas of interest within the field. At the same time, the festival’s various selection committees underwent sensitivity training sessions in order to better understand the matters at hand.
Since last year, Canneseries has been running a quantitative analysis, tracking the numbers of female talents in the casts and crews of every series selected at the festival. The study is ongoing, and though it will not yield immediate fruits even at the end this edition, Pellerin hopes to use it to measure parity’s progress over time.
In terms of programming, the festival has actively sought out challenging and gender-bending works. This year, Pellerin is particularly enthused by the documentary series “Kings,” which takes well-known women from the French media, dresses them in highly realistic drag and lets them experience life as the other sex.
Finally, the festival will sign the 50/50 x 2020 charter at a ceremony on Tuesday, April 9. “It’s important for us to make this public, formal gesture,” says Pellerin. “But that signature would not mean much without our three other fields of action that we’ve already put in place. Doing so is very important for us, because those are among the central questions in media today.”