#2 March 2014

Dear EWA friend,

The last few weeks have been very busy for the EWA Network; the team has been travelling a lot and meeting more and more impressive individuals all concerned about gender equality in the industry. From Göteborg to Créteil, stopping by Berlin, Budapest and Sheffield, we have non-stop been raising awareness and driving support about how much work needs to be done to counter gender inequality in the film industry and other audiovisual fields.

Remarkable women such as the Academy Award winner, Cate Blanchett, raised their voices to defend films with strong female characters, and films made by women speaking out against those in the industry who still cling to the idea that films starring women are niche. We, like Cate Blanchett, are fully aware that they are not and it has been proven in the recent BFI report "succès de plume" that they can make money.

All of the meetings and panel events held during the Berlinale confirmed that women want to work together, can work together and only by working together and with men and funders can changes take place. We were proud to bring together 15 women’s national networks in Berlin to discuss new ways of collaborating, exchanging good practices and learning from each other to bring about policy change at pan-European level. We are also thrilled to announce that we now have ambassadors in 12 EWA countries so far, 2 of them within the Eurimages Gender Equality group (including the President, Ms Sanja Ravlic) who can now represent EWA NETWORK nationally and organise events in their countries such as the meeting held in Budapest on Friday 14 March and delivered by Ms Anita Gerencser.

We are supporting the new US Bechdel test campaign which is a strategy for raising awareness; this test was invented as a game and looks at how many women play lead characters, how much dialogue they have with each other and if they have meaningful conversations about anything other than men. The fact that this needs to be considered at all shows how far we still have to go to achieve equality!

Can a film change policy? Perhaps not, but we would like to mention here the initiative of 60 Spanish colleagues who shot a collective documentary, following the demonstrations all over the country against the restrictive proposed changes to the Abortion Law. The film will be called The Train of Freedom, and depicts the journey which brought women from throughout Spain to Madrid to demonstrate against the new proposed and regressive legislation. Finally, big congratulations to EWA’s Vice-President Paula Ortiz, whose upcoming film "La Novia" - a Turkish/Spanish co-production - received Eurimages support at the last meeting in Hungary. And also to Isabel Coixet, EWA’s President, whose film "Ayer no termina nunca" received the Grand Jury Prize for Fiction at Créteil International Film Festival this weekend. 

Best wishes to all from the EWA Team.

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