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.”
EU journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck
A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating the Adriana shipwreck, which left over 600 migrants dead off Pylos in Greece.
The joint investigation by the Greek investigative outlet Solomon, in collaboration with Forensis, the German public broadcaster StrgF/ARD, and the British newspaper The Guardian revealed how the deadliest migrant shipwreck in recent history happened as a result of the actions taken by the Greek Coast Guard. It also reveals inconsistencies in the Greek authorities’ official accounts.
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Pina Picierno, Vice-President responsible for the Prize, and Juliane Hielscher, President of the Berlin Press Club and representative of the 28 members of the independent European-wide Jury, participated in the award ceremony held in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“Today, as every year, we honour Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memory with a prize that is a powerful reminder of her fight for truth and justice. Journalists around the world continue to be targeted just for doing their job, but they refuse to be silenced. This Parliament stands by their side in this long-standing battle to safeguard press freedom and media pluralism in Europe and beyond”, said Metsola.
When accepting the prize on behalf of the winning consortium, Iliana Papangeli of Solomon said: “The fatal event has forced us to confront questions about so-called European values and where the EU really stands on protecting human life – regardless of passport, ethnicity, race, gender, disability, or class. This joint investigation showed how violent and restrictive EU migration policies are, ultimately leading to a massive loss of life”.
Between 3 May and 31 July 2023, more than 700 journalists from the 27 EU countries submitted their stories for consideration. Twelve of these submissions were shortlisted by the jury before the overall winner was decided.
About the winning story
The investigation took an in-depth look into the events surrounding the loss of the fishing trawler Adriana on 14 June this year some 50 nautical miles off Pylos, in south-western Greece, killing over 600 migrants who had left Libya some days earlier.
Over 20 interviews were made with survivors, and court documents and coastguard sources were looked into. The findings detail missed rescue opportunities and offers of assistance that were ignored, whereas the survivors’ testimonies indicate that it was the attempts by the Greek coastguard to tow the trawler that ultimately caused its sinking. The Greek coastguard denied that it attempted to tow the trawler.
The fateful night was simulated by Forensis using interactive 3D modelling of the trawler thanks to data from the coastguard’s log and testimony of the coast guard vessel’s captain, as well as from flight paths, maritime traffic data, satellite imagery and videos taken by nearby shipping vessels and other sources.
Three countries to receive over €450 million in EU aid after natural disasters
The European Parliament has approved nearly €455 million in EU Solidarity Fund aid in response to recent natural disasters in Romania, Italy and Türkiye.
MEPs expressed their “deepest solidarity with all the victims, their families and all the individuals affected” by the natural disasters in Romania, Italy and Türkyie. They pointed out to the “increasing number of severe and destructive natural disasters in Europe”, stressing that “due to climate change extreme weather events such as those observed in Romania and Italy resulting in emergencies are going to further intensify and multiply”.
The European Commission has proposed to use the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to grant financial assistance of € 454,835,030to the three countries. EUSF assistance will cover parts of the costs of emergency and recovery operations like repairing damaged infrastructure, securing preventive infrastructure and the protection of cultural heritage, as well as clean-up operations. Under the fund’s rules, emergency and recovery operations may be financed by the EUSF retroactively from day one of a disaster.
The aid package was approved by 593 votes in favour, 11 votes against and 22 abstentions.
Writing competition for children in the UK is open for submissions
A writing competition for children in the UK is currently receiving submissions.
Primary school aged children from across the UK can submit their own original short until 8pm Friday 10 November.
The competition, which is supported by BBC Teach, encourages children of all abilities to dive deep into their imagination and write the story they would love to read in 500 words or less, without fear of spelling, grammar or punctuation errors.
50 finalists, along with their parents or carers, will be invited to attend the grand final in February 2024 at Buckingham Palace. The event will be shown as part of a special 500 Words programme with The One Show on World Book Day®, Thursday 7 March 2024.
At the event, the bronze, silver and gold winners of both age groups, 5-7 and 8-11, will receive a selection of exciting prizes, including having their stories read by famous faces and a bundle of books to help continue their love of the written word.
The two gold winners will receive not only the height of judge, Sir Lenny Henry, in books, but 500 books for their schools.
Silver winners will get their hands on the height of Her Majesty in books, and bronze winners will receive the average height of a 7 or 11 year old in books.
All of their stories will be illustrated by children’s illustrators – Joelle Avelino, Axel Scheffler, Fiona Lumbers, Sue Cheung, Jamie Smart, and Steven Lenton – framed, and put into a 500 Words winners’ book.
Every finalist will receive a £20 National Book Token and their stories will be recorded and published to the BBC Teach website.
“We are delighted to be running this year’s 500 Words competition. It goes to the heart of everything we do in BBC Education. Ever since it began, the short story writing competition has always been for every child, no matter what their ability. It is all about creativity with no need to worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar”, says Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education.
Every story will be entered into a random draw, where one lucky winner will receive a ticket to the grand final, and their school will receive a bundle of 500 books and literacy wall art of their choice.
Since the competition first launched in 2011, it has received over one million entries.
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