The Venice Film Festival submissions for 2020 feature 8 films out of 18 that are directed by women, making up 44% of the line-up.
These films are part of the highest-profile line-up, and the directors will be competing for the Golden Lion. This comes as a remarkable development because only four women have won the prize since the festival started in 1932.
This news is a breath of fresh air, since the field of filmmaking has been under intense scrutiny of late for not having equal representation of women in terms of the lack of female directors, female-centric stories, and the gender pay gap. In the previous years, the film festival had majorly fallen short of women’s representation – on an average, just one film among 18 to 22 was directed by a woman.
Venice’s artistic director Alberto Barbera faced backlash for his response to the lack of female directors in the line-up in 2019. “Women directors are unfortunately still a minority. But these portraits of women, even when directed by men, reveal a new sensibility geared towards the feminine universe, as had rarely happened in the past.” The film festival, along with other film festivals, including Cannes, embraced and signed the 5050X2020 “gender parity pledge”. The pledge called for systemic changes such as pushing for parity on executive boards, compiling statistics of female crew in the films submitted to the festival, and revealing the members of the selection committee to make the film selection process democratic and transparent.
The Cannes Film Festival this year boasted of a “significant increase” in female-directed films, but even that amounted to under 25% films. In comparison, the Venice Film Festival has done wonderfully.
The Venice Film Festival runs from September 2 to 22nd, 2020. It will feature films from a range of female directors that include Chloe Zhao, Mona Fastvold, Emma Dante, Nicole Garcia, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Malgorzata Szumowska, Julia Von Heinz, and Jasmila Zbanic.
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