What happened during the 10th edition of Les Arcs Film Festival?
Les Arcs FIlm Festival 2018 kicked off with the official signing of the 50/50 Collective Gender and Diversity Charter. This pledge for parity and inclusion in cinema festivals was launched at the Cannes Film Festival last May and has since been signed by around twenty international festivals.
According to Delphyne Besse, an international saleswoman and co-founder of Le Deuxième Regard, which has since melted into the 50/50 Collective, "this pledge is a commitment of goodwill, a first step towards awareness and a change in mentalities. By signing it, festivals are also committed to providing us with the number of films submitted to them and those they select. This will soon allow us to make gendered statistics on their role in any form of representation of women's films in the sector”. For the last three years, Les Arcs Film Festival has been offering a feature film competition with equal representation of female and male directors, but that quality is present neither in their other programs nor in the jury board.
Three sessions of the Women's Lab were then held, with varying success.
First workshop : the place of women in film festivals, on Monday, December 17th 2018
Several heads of major international festivals - Poland, Critics Week in Cannes, Les Arcs Film Festival, a former director of Sundance programming, representatives of TIFF (Toronto), - an international saleswoman, producers and journalists, separated into small groups and reflected on improving the low representation of women in festivals.
The main proposals that came out of the workshop were:
- a five-year evaluation of the Directors-General or Programming
- a higher turnover of responsibility positions
- a better distribution regarding the visible and invisible positions
- quotas of women's films in the selections, as there already exists quotas for geographical areas
- model a gendered-record based on the different award examples for actors and actresses
- the creation of selections that are 100% female, made by women and aimed at a female audience, to show the extent of their talent and creativity, without taboos (idea successfully tested in Poland)
- and "to trust more women," concluded Guillaume Calop, one of the four founders of Les Arcs Film Festival.
The second meeting on Tuesday December 18th had no announced theme. And for the first time in three years, the panel was exclusively female, despite the invitations having been sent to several men. The present producers, journalists, festival collaborators, student-researchers, actresses, screenwriters or members of the association Femmes & Cinéma have chosen to reflect on two main topics: education and the awareness of young people on the place of women in cinema, as well as the responsibility of the media for rendering women invisible.
The main conclusions of the second workshop were:
- always involve the young juries in every activity and in particular that of the Arcs Film Festival to participate in the Lab
- transmit the knowledge of the leaders to the youngest
- devote a Lab to film criticism
- encourage French and European criticism unions to question the subject
- impose more of womens’ achievements in the educational corpus of schools, colleges, high schools and universities
The third session, co-organized with the Scare (French syndicate of art movies theaters), brought together about 50 theaters owners and art & essay programme directors to have them question parity in distribution and exploitation fields.
It was recognized from the outset that kind of cinema already gives women and their representation a better share because of its older, more female audience and because of the small size of its structures. Some reported initiatives are already in place to fight gender or social stereotypes. Most showed a real willingness to invest and question their functioning. The great majority spoke spontaneously in favor of positive discrimination measures.
It has been suggested to :
- create a 50/50 label that would be given to virtuous companies in the recruitment of their teams as in the programming of their films. This label can be accompanied by a financial bonus.
- boosting aid to business creators in the distribution and exploitation sectors
- regularly provide each company with gender statistics to raise awareness among the teams
- train the teams on questions of parity and diversity
- enhance the value of women's heritage in image education and programming
- associate the media to shift representation stereotypes
The last event of this edition was the master-class of Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, guest of honor of the festival and whose film, The Estivants, was screened in preview.
She didn’t elaborate much on the place of women in the cinema. She began by dodging the question and citing the three actresses who had inspired her in her career: Gena Rowland, Meryl Streep and Anna Magnani. Then she acknowledged that, as a female director, the issue was more complex. « Personally, I would never enjoy the privilege of being considered differently from a man because I am a woman. But, I realize that we must also shake up the habits since, for sure, there are as many talented women as there are men. » It’s out !