There is not a single way to tackle the problem of equality and diversity in the audiovisual industry. However, given their strategic role, festivals that promote female* filmmakers while supporting parity and inclusivity, are surprisingly effective. Not only does their commitment empower stakeholders but it also allows for dialogue with those in power.
To reach this goal, French association Le Collectif 50/50 created a pledge, a commitment text, and introduced it in 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival, following the climb of the steps by 82 women*. Until today, more than 150 film festivals around the world have signed it.
Since 2018, SWAN invites Swiss film festivals to sign the pledge to ensure equal representation of the sexes and genders amid the directors of all the films submitted, and also amid their board executives, programmers and selection committee members.
For we know that inequalities are the result of more global issues, we do not wish to castigate festivals, nor interfere in their management and choices. Our intention is rather to ask their governing bodies to communicate in complete transparency and share their written statistics on an annual basis. These numbers are meant to be observation tools and a starting point for future steps. By signing the pledge, Swiss film festivals thus become key actors of change.