Ahead of the pack: Italy adopts new incentives for women filmmakers
A new Cinema Law was passed in Italy last year. The practical measures to implement the Law were recently announced and they introduce some innovative and encouraging changes for women working in the Italian film industry. For the first time gender equality will become a factor in the decision-making process in awarding project development and production support. This reflects the proposals made in EWA’s pan European research: "Where are the women directors in European films? Gender equality report on female directors (2006-2013) with best practice and policy recommendations" and the recent Council of Europe Recommendation on gender equality in the audiovisual sector.
On a practical level, the changes are made by awarding incentive points to women filmmakers in both the automatic and selective production support schemes.
In the selective production support scheme for independent Italian production companies, points are automatically awarded to a project if the creative team is mainly female and, in particular, when a female director is attached. Projects that have a female director or have a majority of female directors (where there is more than one director), obtain 15 automatic points, while 10 points are awarded if the majority of the creative team is female (the author of the story, screenwriter(s) and composer) even though the director is male. These points cannot be combined, meaning that if a female director is in place, the project automatically receives 15 points, the maximum number of points possible.
In the automatic production support scheme, points are automatically awarded to production companies that have recently produced films by female directors (the producer obtains 15 of these points and the distributor 5) or to films whose creative team is mainly female (10 points go to the producer and 5 to the distributor).
In the development and pre-production support scheme, automatic points are not awarded but the assessment criteria include a recommendation that gender equality be taken into consideration in the choice of projects, in particular if a female director is attached.
EWA congratulates the Italian industry on these innovative measures to promote gender equality and enhance female presence within the audiovisual field. Hopefully this may pave the way to similar changes in the legislation of other European countries.