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Berlin Film Festival jury president Tom Tykwer on Thursday called for the film industry’s #MeToo debate to move beyond finger-pointing and individual allegations to address workplace safety and respect.
“It’s not about who behaves badly and pointing your finger at these people… It’s about power abuse in vertical work structures, and that affects all people,” Tykwer told the Berlin festival jury press conference on Thursday morning.
The German film producer and director, and a Berlinale regular, was responding to a question about how the European festival is giving a nod to Hollywood’s #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns this year. Berlin has introduced what it calls a “safe space policy” that includes a hotline for visitors to report cases of discrimination or harassment they experience or see.
“I think we all agree that it’s a good thing that this debate isn’t stopped and artificially terminated,” Tykwer said. He added that the issue of sexual harassment goes beyond the film industry to impact workplaces everywhere, something often overlooked when the #MeToo and Time’s Up debates are personalized.
Moonlight producer Adele Romanski, who is also a member of the Berlin jury, said she tries where possible to hire film crews that are balanced when it comes to gender and diversity. “As a producer, I’m in the unique position of always having hiring power. I try to be conscientious when making crew hires to ensure I’m representing both men and women and different races,” she said.
Tykwer leads a jury of six men and women set to judge 19 features vying for this year’s Golden and Silver Bears. The jury includes Romanski, Belgian actress Cecile de France (Hereafter, The Young Pope), Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence), Time magazine film critic Stephanie Zacharek and Chema Prado, director of Spain’s Filmoteca Espanola.
Elsewhere, gender equality in the workplace will be a hot-button topic at the European Film Market this year, with Vivian Yvonne Hunt of consulting firm McKinsey & Co. presenting her findings on a study “Delivering Through Diversity,” originally unveiled in late January at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
And at Berlin’s Co-Production Market, the Austrian Film Institute will present a case study of its successful initiative to address the gender gap among film producers by boosting subsidy support for projects with more female participation.
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