The European film industry should have an easier time pursuing gender equality than Hollywood, panelists suggested at a roundtable on the subject as part of the 31st annual European Film Awards weekend in Seville, Spain.
“It’s much easier when you have a public funder because you can really demand equality since there are as many women paying taxes as men,” said Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, a pioneer in seeking gender parity in film.
Serner was joined on the panel, "Gender Equality is THE Way Forward," by Sixteen Films producer Rebecca O’Brien, Girl director Lukas Dhont and Spain-based producer Valerie Delpierre.
The U.K.’s O’Brien, a member of the EFA board, pointed to the British Film Institute’s diversity standards for on- and offscreen representation, creative leadership, industry access and training opportunities, and distribution and exhibition strategies. The standards are now a requirement for the majority of public funding for film in the U.K., have been adopted by Film4 and BBC Films, and also are an eligibility requirement for several top BAFTA categories.
Many studio films wouldn’t meet the BFI standards, O’Brien suggested. Yet, according to Serner, if a company like Warner Bros. simply said, "Listen folks, we want to have 50 percent female directors or you can’t do your ideas," it "would find 50 very competent women, I’m totally sure. So, it’s just up to top management to make a decision: Do we want to change or not?"
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