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Karlovy Vary 2012: Helen Mirren Calls for More Women Directors

CinemaCon Career Achievement Award: Helen Mirren
John Shearer/Getty Images

Honored for her lifetime achievement at the Czech Republic festival, the "Prime Suspect" actress urged more female filmmakers to make movies.

KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC -- Where are all the women directors?

So asked Helen Mirren Friday night as she accepted a lifetime achievement award on the opening night of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival with impromptu remarks.

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Paying tribute to the late Nora Ephron, who died earlier this week, Mirren called out for more women to follow her lead as one of the few successful women screenwriter/directors in the entertainment industry.

Mirren recalled her own early acting career when few women directed films.

“When I was making those (early) films, they were very, very few female directors, and there were certainly no women on set, which made taking one’s clothes off all the more difficult,” she observed.

All that has changed in recent years, Mirren continued, after Julie Taymor directed her in The Tempest, and Hurt Locker helmer Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar as best director.

"Things have moved on, but as far as I’m concerned, they haven’t moved on enough,” Mirren insisted, before telling Karlovy Vary fest present Jiri Bartoska, standing to the side after giving her the gong, that it was still a man’s world at the Czech Republic film festival.

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"I don’t know how many female directors are presenting their films in this festival. I very much doubt that it’s 50%. Not too many, I’m sure,” she insisted.

Mirren added that, should she return to Karlovy Vary in five years, she’d want to see at least 50% of the films at the festival being presented by women directors.