EWA Interview with Reta Guetg, Head of Industry of the Zurich Film Festival
Please tell us about your career as a woman in the industry. Have you encountered any difficulties related to your gender?
I kind of had a very smooth start. I just followed my passion and did not really think about it in a strategic way. Having said that, I did not encounter many difficulties in the beginning. But in fact, I realized that the older I got and the more confident I got, the way I worked started being very different, from a woman's point of you. I am more of a team player and that is somehow not alwayseasy as a woman. Often you do not get heard and it takes more energy and strength to get recognition and respect.
How does being a woman reflect on your professional life today?
Well I'd never thought that this would ever be the case, but I definitively have a more particular opinion when it comes to gender equality than I had when I was younger. Today I am confident to say that I share a feminist approach in my everyday life. I find it extremely inspiring and very important to support women in practice and to encourage each other. And I think it is important that we do that not only mingle within our own age group, but that we exchange between the generations. Also, I try to be more aware of patterns, of how I behave, and that is surprisingly very gender specific.
Which are the most urgent issues to be addressed to achieve gender equality within the industry? And which kind of initiatives would be the most efficient?
We must show solidarity. By that I think that we should support different lifestyles. It is undeniablethat when it comes to motherhood, there is not enough awareness on the difficulty of this stage of life for one's professional carrier. And I think this is an issue that involves everyone no matter if one has a family or not. It is a responsibility that concerns us as a society. Secondly, I think women need to learn how to better market themselves and how to be more confident from a very early stage in life. That may sound strange but often it already starts with the way we talk. I recently learnt in a great seminar that we tend to just make ourselves a bit smaller or say negative things about ourselves, even if we're not asked to. That was such an eye-opening moment for me. Simple but effective.
When it comes to initiatives I think the most efficient measure is to introduce quotasin order to have more women working in the field, at least over a certain period. Especially regarding public funding for women's projects. Because I believe that as long as we do not have an evolution of women working, we lack role models that are visible in society. Without that I do not see how change and progression is possible. Because I am confident that if for example women directors are able to realize projects, we will also see more women characters in films and as a mass media that is a crucial part of how we perceive the world.
What advice would you give to women who access the industry?
I would give the same advice to anyone. Try to find people you fit with and you are at ease with. Working with collaborators who are on the same page as you is one of the most important things. And try to be confident in what you do, but in your very own way.
Who is your favorite female director?
This is very hard, as I do think that there are so many. But If you ask me right now, I really like the upcoming Swiss director Lisa Brühlmann.