[USA], July 31 (ANI): The Venice Film Festival signed a pledge for gender equality, following the Cannes, Locarno, and Sarajevo film festivals. But the festival organisers insisted that the practices in the protocol are already in place.
The pledge was signed by the festival's artistic director Alberto Barbera at a news conference that he attended; Paolo Baratta, the president of La Biennale, the fest's parent organisation; and the Italian groups Dissenso Comune and Women in Film, TV & Media Italia, reported Variety.
The pledge, initiated by French organisation 5050×2020, requires Venice to comply with norms of transparency in the festival's selection processes and gender parity in the organisation's top management.
"The Venice festival is already quite far ahead," said Italian actress Jasmine Trinca of Dissenso Comune, who participated in the signing of the deal.
"From the start, I wanted clarity about the fact that no festival has signed any pledges regarding quotas [in] selections.and nobody has ever asked them to. Because we agreed on that basic principle, the dialogue with the [women's] movements has been serene and constructive," said Baratta.
The festival has been largely criticised for selecting only one film by a woman for the official competition for the second year in a row, alongside 20 titles by male filmmakers. Baratta rejected suggestions that Venice was an outlier, or that the Italian culture was somehow at fault.
"We are an institution that operates in many cultural fields, and the film festival is just one of them," Baratta told Variety.
He also said that 75 per cent members of La Biennale's top management are women and that Barbera's team, the film festival's commissions, and the juries are always in favour of 50-50 male-female. At the same time, he accepted that the percentage of submissions by female filmmakers needed to be improved.
Baratta committed his organisation to publishing its internal statistics on gender and to hold a seminar at the film festival every year to analyse the numbers and discuss their implications. "Instead of just signing the pledge to appease and get it out of the way, we've tried to bring the discussion forward," he said. (ANI)