Gender Inequality

Berlin festival aims for gender equality with half of films by women

The shoes of director and screenwriter Joanna Hogg and actresses Tilda Swinton and  Honor Swinton Byrne are pictured during a photocall to promote the movie "The Souvenir" at the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch - UP1EF2C165DL0

Almost half of the 400 films on show at this year's Berlin Film Festival have female directors. Image: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Riham Alkousaa
Energy and Climate Change Correspondent, Reuters
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Gender Inequality

The Berlin Film Festival has made a pledge to promote gender equality, taking the first step toward that goal by screening almost an equal number of movies directed by women as by men.

Out of the 400 films to be screened at this year's Berlinale, almost half have female directors.

"We still have a lot to do to achieve gender equality," said festival chief Dieter Kosslick, who on Saturday signed the pledge to promote more women in the film industry.

The festival will aim to have more women in its jury, film line-up and staff.

Of the 17 films competing for the Golden Bear award this year, seven have female directors.

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"We never had this in our history, and it proves that it was the right decision," said Kosslick.

Gale Anne Hurd, producer of hits like "Terminator," "Aliens" and "The Walking Dead" said the gender equality pledge sends a signal that the film industry needs to change so that successful female directors and producers are no longer exceptions.

"The Berlin festival is actually doing much better than let's say Venice or Cannes," said Hurd, the special guest at this year's event.

"Sometimes you have to shame people into doing the right thing, I don't necessarily believe that that's the best thing, which is why this initiative is encouraging people," she said.

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