69th edition. October 18-26, 2024

«The point isn’t women’s films, it’s women making films», 3rd Forum on Women Filmmakers

Group photo of the III Meeting of Women Filmmakers

20/10/2019.- During its first two days, the 64th Valladolid International Film Festival hosted the 3rd Forum on Women Filmmakers, organised by Seminci and Caimán Cuadernos de Cine, with the collaboration of CIMA. The event brought together 20 female directors, and seven of them (Patricia Ferreira, Concha Gómez, Anxos Fazans, Carla Simón, Nely Reguera, Alauda Ruiz de Azúa, and Elena Molina) spoke on behalf of their fellow filmmakers at the round table ‘El Desafío de la primera película’ (‘The first-film challenge’), chaired by Jara Yáñez.

During this forum’s third edition, conversations were held behind closed doors for several days in a row. The participants analysed the status quo using the objective facts included in the report written by Concha Gómez, from the Charles III University of Madrid. Gómez supplies the document that gets the ball rolling at each edition of the forum, which Carlos Heredero, editor of Caimán Cuadernos de Cine, described as «two days of extremely productive discussion».

When presenting their conclusions, the female filmmakers highlighted some of the data in the report, which shows that while 3,358 feature films were made in Spain between 2000 and 2018, only 393 of them (12 percent) were directed by women.

They wondered whether this general information could change substantially when talking about specific age-groups, such as the younger generations. Another piece of information shed light on this — out of those 393 feature films, 304 are their directors’ first and second films. According to Carla Simón, «it’s alarming how women’s careers don’t seem to get established».

This issue gained so much importance during the discussions that a meeting under the title ‘El reto de la primera película’ (‘The first film challenge’) moved naturally away from the business at hand and towards how difficult making your third film is.

When it comes to professional support, the Film Academy has only nominated six women for best documentary film in the last decade (between 2010 and 2019), and none of these women were first-timers.

Regarding budgets, the numbers reflect a clear inequality — the average budget for films directed by women is € 1,452,000, almost half the average for male-directed films, which is € 2,726,000. «No producer will tell you the reason he won’t give you funding is he doesn’t trust you because you’re a woman. That’s why it’s necessary to use the numbers as a starting point», Leticia Dolera said from the audience.

Amongst the ten conclusions the women filmmakers reached, what stands out is their claim to look at their work from a diversity perspective and not so much a gender perspective: «The point isn’t women’s films, it’s women making films».

But in order to reach a situation more fairly aligned with professional reality, they ask for positive discrimination measures in the scoring scales in order to access public funding, claim for parity in the selection, direction and composition committees of festival juries, or demand that the measures included in the ‘statute of the artist’ in 2018 are put into practice and developed.

The 3rd Forum on Women Filmmakers was attended by Alauda Ruiz De Azúa, Ana Schulz, Anxos Fazáns, Belén Funes, Carla Simón, Celia Rico, Elena Martín, Elena Molina, Irene Moray, Josefina Molina, Laura Ferrés, Laura Jou, Leticia Dolera, Lucía Alemany, María Elorza, Marina Lameiro, Nayra Sanz, Nely Reguera, Pilar Palomero, and Concha Gómez, in addition to the aforementioned Concha Gómez from the Charles III University of Madrid, and Jara Yáñez and Carlos F. Heredero from Caimán Cuadernos de Cine.

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