Cannes 2019 in a nutshell : slight progress but no step back
After digesting the slight increase in the number of films directed by women in the official selection (where the numbers scarcely reached 19% in competition, 39% in Un Certain Regard and merely 28% overall including special screenings), the expectations were high regarding a second female director finally winning the coveted Palme d'Or, since Céline Sciamma and Mati Diop seemed like strong candidates.
However, the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival will not be remembered for the number of awards received by women but for the quality of their films. This year saw more women competing for the Palme d'Or and Caméra d'Or than in the previous years with the breakthrough-director Mati Diop winning the Grand Prix du Jury with Atlantique and Céline Sciamma winning the Best Script Award for Portrait of a lady on fire. Actress Emily Beecham received the Best Actress for Jessica Hausner's Little Joe.
For Un Certain Regard, the Jury Coup de Coeur Award went (ex-aequo) to Mounia Chokri for A Brother's Love while Chiara Mastroianni scooped the prize for Best Performance for Chambre 212 by Christophe Honoré.
For Sama, co-directed by Waad al-Khateab. took the Golden Eye Documentary Prize, founded in 2015 by the French writers’ union SCAM.
A special mention to Claire Mathon, DOP of Atlantique (Atlantics) and Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a lady on fire), both in the official competition and CST Award for best technician went to Flora Volpelière, editor of Ladj Ly's Les Misérables.
Lastly, this year’s recipient of the Women in Motion Award was actress Gong Li.
Special Mention to the shortfilm Monster God by the Argentinian Agustina San Martin.
EWA Network was in the media from the first day, after Screen International talked to our director Alessia Sonaglioni among other women's networks reps to find out what had been achieved one year after the signing of the Gender Parity Pledge.
We proudly congratulated EWA members Laureen Pelassy and Zeynep Atakan, with an award-winning film in the Official Competition; Anna Bofarull selected at L' Atelier, Deirdre Levins at Frontières presentation and with a film at Critic's Week, Anita Juka at Producers on the Move and Aino Suni and Ángeles González-Sinde shortlisted at the Breaking through the Lens Pitch.
Action For Change. Reframe and activate New narratives.
Hosted by the Israeli Pavilion and moderated by EWA Network's president Ada Solomon. Participants were Nicole Ackermann (Wift Germany), Christa Dickenson (Telefilm Canada), Iole Maria Giannattasio (MiBACT), Helene Granqvist (President of Wifti), Sabina Kodra (Albanian Women in Audiovisual) , Iris Zappe-Heller (Austrian Film Institute), Susan Liddy (WIFT Ireland), Rafaela Roca (Balkan Film Market) and Daphne Tepper (UNI MEi).
Iris Zappe-Heller pointed out how the Pan-European research on Women Directors was a milestone and it was time to take it to its next phase and get updated figures now for 2014-2020. Iole Maria Giannattasio conveyed the firm support of the MiBACT for diversity of voices and praised the alliance of women's networks working together.
Women On The Move
All-day conferences and conversations at the Media Stand about achieving greater gender balance: good practices from EU industry and policy makers. We are proud of EWA Network's contribution to the Best Practices brochure issued by the European Commission and we would love to quote Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy: "At this stage, on the eve of a new European Commission, there is no time for more political theory. We have the studies and data. Now it is time to move to action and achieve tangible results."
Alessia Sonaglioni's Keynote Speaker at DOC corner
In the context of DOC day, EWA Network's director was invited to give a speech to the audience of documentary makers.
After mentioning how shocking it was to see that the European film sector was characterised by high barriers at the entry, precarious and harrassment-filled working conditions, subjective decision making, dependency on chance-givers highly influenced by networks and with a low presence of women in directing and other key creative positions, Sonaglioni pointed out the studies that had made the industry become aware of the gender imbalance, thus, provoking the adoption of some gender-balanced measures by film funds. Furthermore, she mentioned an Australian study revealing the reluctance of homogenous networks of white well educated male producers systemically excluding women and creatives from minority and poor backgrounds from film production. This means that to make change happen those networks should be forced to open up.
The speech was wrapped up with an open question to the audience, quoted here:
" You are documentary filmmakers often engaged in making films with the ambition of a social impact or professionals who support the production and the circulation of that content. Equal rights and social justice are often at the core of the stories you tell or that you finance or distribute. How can you tolerate that the professional sector you belong in pays women less than men?
Also, if the essence of this industry is to create original, diverse and innovative content, why is it that gender and social diversity is not reflected in the people who create, contribute to finance, or disseminate that content?"
European gender measures and networks
Francine Raveney represented EWA Network at the Pavillon des Auteurs in a discussion alongside Sandrine Brauer, producer and co-founder of #Collectif 50/50 and Xavier Lardoux, director of the CNC.
Women in international Cooperation - opportunities and challenges.
The Italian Pavilion hosted a panel in collaboration with ANICA (Italian audiovisual association) : with Chinese producer Wu Yanyan, Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat, Taiwanese actress Hsu Hsi-ti and EWA Network's Head of PR Francine Raveney who shared their visions and experiences with the audience. The event was held to celebrate the China-Europe women’s film festival.