France announces government subsidies for films with gender parity behind the scenes

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Sep 21, 2018, 5:02 PM EDT

France, which has the biggest film industry in Europe, has announced new subsidies for films made by women.

These subsidies were announced at a three-day conference for the 50/50 Pour 2020 movement, aiming to achieve gender parity in the industry by 2020. Film productions will earn points for having women in leadership roles, like director, screenwriter, editor, etc. Films with “exemplary” equality behind the scenes will get 15% in government funding. 

According to a 2017 study by the CNC, France’s National Film Board, female filmmakers in the country earn on average 42% less than male filmmakers. 

“Film mirrors society and is a vehicle to change it,” said Frédérique Bredin, president of the CNC. “It must be a pioneer [to promote] these issues of equality and diversity. It’s the role of cinema to spark an awareness and make mentalities evolve.”

The subsidies weren’t the only measure announced at the conference with the aim of gender parity. Other initiatives involve mandatory reporting of gender demographics on film sets. There will also be an observatory created focused on producing statistics regarding women in film and their wages, as well as a study about why many female film school graduates don’t make their own films, despite there being an equal number of men and women in the schools themselves.

"Even today, producing a film directed by a woman is felt to be risky by decision makers. They suffer a glass ceiling that is difficult to explain," Bredin said. "The numerical analysis shows that, all other things being equal, women are paid less, the budgets of their films are less important."

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