In the salon Bellevue at Ritz-Carlton hotel, Renate Nikolay, Head of Cabinet of Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vĕra Jourová hosted a roundtable discussion about "How to address violence against women in and with Audiovisual work". After her welcoming speech, she invited Bogdan Wenta, Member of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament to join the debate. Afterwards Lucia Recalde, Head of Unit Audiovisual Industry and Media support programmes, explained the importance of the topic to DG CNECT.
Participants: Pauline Durant-Vialle (FERA Federation of European Film Directors),Daniel Friedlaender (Sky EU),Dr. Eva Flecken (Sky DE), Sophie Rieger (Journalist and Film critic), Gamila Ylstra (Board of the ATC, Audiovisual Training Coalition), Christine Eloy (Europa Distribution), Cécile Despringre (SAA Society of Audiovisual Authors), Nathalie Daiber (Head of the ARTE journal correspondents office in Berlin), Edna Epelbaum (UNIC Vice-President and CEO of Cinevital, President of the Swiss Cinema Operators' Association), Karin Heisecke (Social scientist, specialized on gender studies), Madeleine Probst (Europa Cinemas Vice President, Programme Producer), Anna Serner (CEO Swedish Film Institute and Member of the EFADs European Film Agency Director), Alina Popescu (European Advisor of the International Federation of Film Distributors' Associations FIAD), Marisella Rosetti (LUX Prize, film critic) and Alexia Muíños Ruiz (EWA NETWORK Deputy Director and filmmaker).
The debate around how to fight violence against women and how to use films and audiovisual content to reinforce the message was vivid and enriched with suggestions from the participants. Gamila Ylstra pointed out that the current situation is alarming as mainstream films reinforce the violence against women with poor construction of female characters. She encouraged self-criticism to our film business. Anna Serner suggested that Media Programme could incentivate training and awareness about violence against women. She also pointed out the necessity of introducing a diversity of points of view on the subject in the film industry by supporting more female driven films. Alexia Muiños noted the importance of learning how to look at the images to develop a critical gaze. The depiction of the violence should be empathic with the victim, not voyeuristic or morbid as many usually male-directed films are. It was mentioned that women directors have tackled this issue with more sensitivity, in films which could be eligible to be shown in programmes for teenagers. Edna Epelbaum pointed out that women had to be encouraged to gain positions in the industry, as film business is a hostile environment.
Education is key. The structure to support the victims is getting better but it is very important to address to re-educations of perpetrators, give them the right tools to avoid this violence. Mostly everybody agreed on the idea of incentivating educational programmes to tackle these conflictive issues through debate and analysing adequate content, and encourage more diversity in European Films, making sure all countries, cultures and genders are represented.