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EWA Network celebrates its Annual Members Gathering at the 74th Berlinale

2024 EWA Network's Annual Members' Gathering in Berlin

EWA Network marked its 11th anniversary in Berlin, on Monday February 19th with our annual members’ gathering and update, followed by a public update on the progress of the two-year gender pay-gap mapping project led by Uni Europa and EWA. Both events took place at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to both the Collegium Hungaricum for their continued support, and to Daphné and Uni Europa for being such an invaluable partner at this year’s event.

Our members-only event - a two-hour special set started at 14h. EWA’s Executive Director, Anamaria Antoci, welcomed the EWA members, and outlined the network’s main activities since our last members’ update. Of particular note was the launch of EWA’s new Netflix-funded Series Accelerator, which kicked off at Netflix’s Amsterdam office in January. The Accelerator is aimed at female producers expanding from feature film production into high-end series. Eight talented women from across Europe are taking part in the inaugural programme.

Alexia Muiños Ruiz, Director of Programmes, continued with a quick overview of ‘EWA Network in Numbers’. She highlighted the 775 members from 56 countries worldwide by December 2023, the Network’s partnerships with 11 associations and female-centred film festivals. Next, Sabina Kodra and Alina Bala, from the newly-formed women’s association Albanian Women in Film joined Alexia on stage and gave a brief overview of the impressive changes they have already achieved in Albania since their foundation.

Alexia then gave a recap on EWA’s other activities throughout the year, with a special mention for the 5th edition of the EWA Network Mentoring Programme which launched in November in Thessaloniki. She also mentioned the three awards, presented by EWA Network in 2023, to projects in development, each with a female writer/director with a clear diverse approach.

Maria Carla del Río, executive producer of The Gang accepted that project’s award in person, and updated us on the project progress.

The teams behind The Elf's Tower by Polina Kelm and All the F***ing Crows in the World by Tang Yi were unable to attend, but sent messages of thanks.

Since 2016 EWA Network has supported 28 projects, eleven of which have been completed, including The Little Loves by Celia Rico, a former participant in the EWA’s Scriptwriters' Residency. The Little Loves will have its world Premiere in Festival de Malaga in March 2024.

Volha Paulovich introduced EWA’s upcoming online workshop with PENTOPIX, an AI tool that accelerates content production. Alexia introduced the ShareDOC platform, which will also be the topic of a future online workshop.

We closed the members’-only session with a mention of research projects that EWA NEtwork is supporting: GEMMA Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies, EUTERPE: European Literatures and Gender from a Transnational Perspective, and DIGISCREENS: Identities and Democratic values on European digital screens: Distribution, reception and representation, and then broke for coffee and a chance for members to chat to one another and to the EWA team.


We reconvened at 15h for our main event, entitled ‘The Gender Pay Gap in the European Audiovisual Sector: what do we know and what can we do?’ This event, which was open to both EWA members and non-members, is the culmination of a 2-year EU-funded project led by Uni Europa and EWA Network.

Anamaria Antoci introduced our expert panel: Esther Schmidt, from Vrouwen in Beeld/Women in the Picture, Netherlands, Pauline Durand-Vialle, from The Federation of European Screen Directors, Christian Juhl Lemche, from the Danish Film Institute, Edel Brosnan, Director of Strategy, EWA Network; and Daphné Tepper, Policy Director for the Media, Entertainment & Arts Sector of UNI Europa.

The panel explored the concept of the gender pay gap and the need for greater pay transparency across all industrial sectors in Europe, before taking a deeper dive into the specific challenges facing the audiovisual sector, where there is very little sector-specific data available at a European level. Daphné Tepper from Uni Europa explained that the EU Pay Transparency Directive, which comes into force in 2026, will compel employers with more than 100 employees to measure the gender pay gap in their organisations. In addition, employers will be obliged to disclose pay and benefits openly, and give workers the right to discuss their base pay and benefits with one another. While the latter two measures will benefit everyone on the payroll working in the sector, measuring the real extent of the gender pay gap in the screen industries will remain difficult, because our sector has such a high percentage of freelancers. The panel discussed where, and how, we can find better information on pay rates and gender. Pauline Durand-Vialle outlined the exemplary work in this area being carried out by the CNC in France, and Christian Juhl Lemche explained how the Danish Film Institute is gathering gender-pay data from the companies whose projects it funds. Esther Schmidt from Women in the Picture gave us an early insight into the data from her research into the gender pay gap in the sector in the Netherlands - this is the first study of the audiovisual sector to look at all roles and pay grades, and the results do indeed show a difference in pay for both in-house staff and freelancers. Finally, Edel Brosnan presented results from her survey of attitudes to money among EWA members - showing a clear cultural taboo in talking about money, pay rates and financial issues in general. The panel agreed that alongside historic and structural issues, many women found it hard to negotiate for better pay.

Questions from the floor amplified this as a concern: members confirmed that they sometimes felt uncomfortable negotiating, and often did not even know what the ‘going rate’ was for their role, and subsequently accepted less than their male peers.


Next, the panel discussed potential solutions; what can be done to address the gender pay gap in the EU audiovisual industry? All agreed that first of all we need good quality data - we cannot fix what we cannot measure! Daphné Tepper noted that even small, accurate data sets can be useful, citing the opinion of Marcus Ryder, CEO of the UK’s Film and TV Charity. Reliable ‘snapshots’ from individual countries would create a ‘mosaic’ picture and could be gathered quite quickly - a pan-European study would be less useful, given the different income levels and levels of production across the EU. The panel also agreed that we need to end the taboo around speaking about money - this would benefit all freelancers, male and female. The panel warmly endorsed the idea of a public-awareness campaign, using button badges, post-it-notes and pens to encourage people in the screen industries to share their pay rates (if in-house) or day rates (if freelance). Finally, the panel agreed that some kind of ‘quality mark’ to encourage voluntary pay-gap reporting, was crucial, since so many production companies have fewer than 100 employees, and many have fewer than 10.


The formal meeting adjourned at 17h, and our guest speakers and the audience continued discussing these hot topics at a lively networking cocktail to conclude the event.

With the support and advice of Collegium Hungaricum (thanks Virág Bottlik), EWA Network invited three renowned Hungarian directors of Photography Eszter Csepeli, Claudia Kovacs and Judit Evelin Tóth to join us in the Annual event for EWA members.

Pictures by Hajnal Szolga.