The Venice Film Festival may be the one of the oldest and most revered film festivals in the world, but it’s time to get with the program.
The festival released its lineup, and out of the 21 films that made the cut, only one single movie is directed by a woman. The lone film is The Nightingale, from Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent. It’s the follow-up to Kent’s directorial debut, The Babadook, a supernatural horror film that grossed $7.5 million at the box office with a $2 million budget.
To add insult to injury, only eight out of the 60 films chosen as part of the festival’s official selection—which includes competition, out of competition, and the Orizzonti section—are directed by women. That’s not even half. Scratch that—that’s not even one fourth!
Haters will say that maybe the women directors simply did not make movies as great as the men directors, but #TimesUp. Enough with the mansplaining.
The president of the festival, Paolo Baratta, reportedly said, “21 percent of submissions were female, which reveals that a problem exists. The problem exists, but where does it exist? We need to make sure that women have the tools and opportunity to make films.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the artistic director of the festival, Alberto Barbera, says that all he can do is select films based on the quality of the film, not based on the gender of the director.
When asked about the inclusion of more women in the festival, Barbera places the blame elsewhere, saying, “Venice can’t do anything about that. It’s not up to us to change the situation. It came too late in the process of filmmaking.”
Unlike Barbera, others in the industry are making moves to promote gender equality, such as Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux, who signed the “Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals.” The pledge, also signed by head programmers from Directors Fortnight and Critics Week, vows to increase transparency and promote gender parity at film festivals.
The Venice Film Festival takes place from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8, marking the official kickoff of the 2018 fall awards season. Here’s hoping that the other award shows are more in tune with what’s necessary for equal representation because we’ve been waiting far too long.
h/t Indie Wire