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Women in cinema drives discussions in Cannes during film festival

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Female filmmakers discuss women in cinema during the Cannes Film Festival
CEO Evgenia Markova joins actress Svetlana Ustinova and producer Natalia Drozd to discuss women in the film industry

Dating back to 1946, there hasn’t been a female director winner since 1993 when New Zealand writer-director Jane Campion won for her period drama ‘The Piano.’ This year, the Cannes Film Festival awarded  its second female director, Julia Ducournau, bringing  women to the forefront of the discussion at the world’s biggest film festival.

The Russian Pavilion, in partnership with the European Women Audiovisual Network (EWA), an organization supporting women in the industry to establish professional contacts and share their experience, held the round table ‘Women’s Cinema in Russia.’ This discussion attracted a number of prominent filmmakers.

‘Now there are many more female students at cinema universities. I, personally, have never had the difficulty of misunderstanding my career choice, but I know that linear production is a rare profession among women. I must admit that I used to hear questions that cast doubt on my ability to work, but as soon as we sat down at the negotiating table, they disappeared. By chance, I do work mostly with women but I don’t do it on purpose.’ – says Victoria Lupik, a producer who has been working in the film industry since 2002 and whose credits include blockbusters such as the film “Apocalypse Code”.

For Evgenia Markova, CEO of Roskino, a state body representing Russian industry of audiovisual content on the international markets, discussing how women find their place within a male-dominated industry is the key to finding answers.

“Historically, women have played a very important role in filmmaking. However, nowadays I am getting more and more questions about female presence in the sphere of Russian content. The time has come to give an opportunity to women in cinematography to talk about their own achievements and experiences. That is why we will continue talking about the role of women in the film industry out loud, bringing together professionals who are ready to share their vision.” – champions Markova.

“Talent is not defined by gender. Everyone has their own path. In art cinema, there are no rules or recipes. It is common to say that female directors earn less but at the same time, in Russia, they can afford not to work and live at the expense of men because of a patriarchal society. However, it seems to me that women now have more opportunities to create, seek, doubt, observe. But gender definitely does not affect film language.” – defends film director Ella Manzheeva.

Global Luxury group Kering, which manages the development of a series of fashion houses from Gucci to Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta, brought an army of women to the 7th edition of its Women In Motion. This army included actresses Jodie Turner-Smith and Regina King, and multidisciplinary artist Lou Doillon. They shared their experiences and views of women’s representation in the film industry.

“There have always been women filmmakers and there always will be. In fact, all the way back to the beginning of cinema, there have always been women screenwriters, there have always been women directors, across the globe. And they are very empowered. When people are encouraging themselves to feel anxious about a lack of women in filmmaking, they are maybe only looking at the names on a roster of directors at a film festival. They are maybe forgetting that all these films… are suffused with the sensibility of women filmmakers. We just need to have confidence and keep amplifying our voice, but with the authority of knowing that women do make films.” – highlighted Scottish actress Tilda Swinton, who also joined Kering’s Women in Motion discussions.

The seventh edition of Women in Motion Talks ended with a conversation with American actress, director and producer Regina King. She looked back at her career and how she came to be involved in directing: “I think that I was probably preparing myself all the while, as an actor, because I would really be paying attention to things that do not pertain to the actor. I would be asking myself questions that had nothing to do with the character. There was a moment when I decided to start saying out loud that I wanted to be a director. I think I was scared to say it before, but I kind of felt it. And that maybe happened sometime around 2000.

My advice would definitely start with “Don’t let your fear silence you.” And I would say, “Ask questions and listen to the answers.”

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Food truck to offer students with learning disabilities hands-on experience for a career in hospitality

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Students serving food from the project's food truck
Ready for the summer: the Flying Fox truck, funded by a £30,000 grant from the Hilton Global Foundation, will serve customers in Minehead

A food truck parked outside the Foxes Hotel in Somerset, England, will allow students with learning disabilities to have a hands-on experience in hospitality through a variety of events, from food fairs to music festivals, boosting their skills and confidence while preparing them for employment in the industry. It has been funded by a £30,000 grant from the Hilton Global Foundation, which aims to have a positive impact on the communities that Hilton hotels serve.

The project is led by Aurora Foxes, previously known as Foxes Academy. Hilton, which is present in 122 countries and territories, has been a partner of Aurora Foxes since 2015, offering placements and work experience to students from the college. Since the partnership began, the centenary hotel chain has provided work placements for over 30 Foxes’ students and is set to offer a number of placements later this year. Currently, there are seven Aurora Foxes graduates employed in six of Hilton’s hotels. Foxes’ students work towards nationally-recognised qualifications and complete work experience at businesses across the UK.

“Finding fulfilling work is so important for our mental health and wellbeing, and we believe those who are able to work shouldn’t be locked out of the workforce. With the right support, employing someone with a disability can be a positive experience and helps to promote a happy and inclusive workforce” – says Emma Cobley MBE, principal at Aurora Foxes.

“Nurturing diverse talent is hugely important to us – and our close partnership with Aurora Foxes not only furthers these aims but has such a positive impact on our hotels where students come to work with us. Aurora Foxes has been a fantastic partner for us over the years and I’m thrilled that we’re offering a number of additional work placements at our hotels later this year. As we continue to build on our partnership, I look forward to seeing the benefits of the Flying Fox truck on the lives of students – and to tasting the delicious food they create.” – says Steve Cassidy, managing director at Hilton UK and Ireland.

The truck – supported by a team of Foxes’ students – will welcome customers on the promenade three days a week throughout the summer term, serving a selection of paninis and rice boxes. Foxes’ students will be running the truck, learning outdoor service skills including food preparation, hygiene and storage.

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Young Composer network to have its own Prom night in 2022

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Young musician composing in bed
The next BBC Young Composer competition takes place in 2023 | Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko

Since its inception in 1998, BBC Young Composer has launched a series of musical careers and the scheme is committed to reaching a wide pool of talent of all technical abilities, backgrounds, and musical styles across the UK.

And for the first time ever, the initiative will have its own Prom, scheduled to take place at Battersea Arts Centre with the BBC Concert Orchestra and conductor Alice Farnham, featuring six new works by the winners of the BBC Young Composer 2021 competition. The winners, who are being supported and mentored by British-Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova and London-based composer Gavin Higgins, have been commissioned on the theme of ‘BBC 100, celebrating 100 years of the BBC’ for this special concert which takes place on Saturday 30 July.

There will also be a new programme of live and online activities for teachers, schools and young people available from July, offering a variety of opportunities to learn and create with BBC Young Composer, including a full day of workshops in the summer open to all young musicians interested in creating their own music aged 12 – 18. Further schools workshops will be on offer later in the year, with a focus on increasing skills and confidence in music composition.

“2020 and 2021 were incredibly hard for young people in the UK and so I was overwhelmed and humbled by the quality and creativity I saw from our young composers. With twice as many entries to the BBC Young Composer Scheme than in previous years, and the standard of work incredibly high, the future of music in the UK is in safe hands. Music really does change lives, and these young composers have bright futures ahead of them.” – says Gavin Higgins, composer and BBC Young Composer mentor.

The significant increase in applications to the competition, over the past couple of years, means that the event will move to a biennial pattern to allow time for a more comprehensive development and mentoring programme for more of the many young musicians applying for the scheme. The next BBC Young Composer competition takes place in 2023.

The BBC Young Composer Network will also launch, which is a new database for teachers, schools, and partners to sign-up for access to Continuing Professional Development (teacher training) activities and resources.

Teachers interested in these resources and opportunities can sign up to the BBC Young Composer mailing list here.

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Grammy Awards to air special segment about Ukraine during Sunday telecast

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British singer Harry Styles performs at the Grammys 2021 in Los Angeles
British singer Harry Styles performs at the Grammys 2021 in Los Angeles | Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

A special segment scheduled during the 64th Grammy Awards taking place this Sunday, April 3rd, will raise awareness about the situation in Ukraine. The initiative is a partnership with Global Citizen and “Stand Up For Ukraine” and will feature opportunities for viewers to take action and contribute to the global “Stand Up For Ukraine” campaign.

“We are heartbroken by the situation in Ukraine, yet still moved by the resilient spirit on display there every day. We hope the segment inspires our worldwide audience to get involved to support these critical humanitarian efforts.” – says songwriter and movie producer Harvey Mason Jr., current CEO of The Recording Academy.

Recording Academy partner Global Citizen has played a leading role, along with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in organizing an April 9 “Stand Up For Ukraine” pledging summit to help mobilize funding to support humanitarian efforts for Ukraine, and to show support to refugees everywhere. Hundreds of world-renowned musicians and artists have pledged to join the global social rally and urge world leaders to commit to aiding refugees.

“History has shown us that conflict and poverty are closely interconnected, resulting in the weakening of the rule of law, a collapse in economic development and often catastrophic humanitarian situations. There is no doubt that the conflict in Ukraine has led to a humanitarian crisis – members of Global Citizen saw this ourselves at the Ukrainian-Polish border” – says Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans.

A diverse roster of artists, musicians and actors will take the stage as presenters at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, including nominees Megan Thee Stallion and Joni Mitchell; actors and musicians Jared Leto and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez; as well as previous winners Dua Lipa,  Bonnie Raitt, Lenny Kravitz and Keith Urban.

The 64th Grammy Awards will be hosted by South African comedian and television host Trevor Noah and broadcast live on CBS from MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, from 5pm on April 3 (ET), which is 1 am on April 4 in the UK (GMT). The event will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

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