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May 28

Why so few women?

It was impossible to be in Cannes this year without hearing the rumblings of digust from the assembled women that, yet again, the Palme d’Or shortlist was a male-only affair.
However, it wasn’t until I got home and read a report from the Guardian that I realised there have only been two years in the Festival’s 65 year history when the shortlist has NOT been exclusively male.
Why?
Are we seriously expected to believe that there are no women director’s worthy of being included?
Sadly, the imbalance is present right through the film industry. In Hollywood only 5% of the top 250 films were directed by women.
And yet, strangely, the pattern is not the same around the world.
It may come as a surprise to many but the countries where women have the most freedom and equality are not necessarily the ones with the most opportunities.
Some months ago I was told that the proportion of women working in the Iranian film industry is actually higher than the proportion working in the British film industry.
At the time I found this hard to believe but while walking around the sales floor in the Film Market at Cannes I saw that films from the so-called third world often have a far more liberal approach to women than might be expected.
It is not unusual to see posters for films with exclusively women casts. And some of the women even appear to be over thirty.
Can you name a Britsh film with an all female cast?
No. Neither can I.
Filmmaking is one of the few areas where equal opportunities simply don’t seem to apply and that makes me more determined than ever to make Deadly Intent a success and prove that women can make superb films when given the opportunity.

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