Campaign to Raise Awareness of Female Directors Launches in Europe

Isabel Coixet Portrait - P 2012
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Isabel Coixet Portrait - P 2012

Spanish director Isabel Coixet says cites "hopeless romantic" as the reason she makes movies.

Women filmmakers are being asked to post 60-second video clips explaining why they make movies as part of an international campaign to raise awareness of the lack of female directors compared to men.

The European Women’s Audiovisual Network campaign features a stylish video message on its website from award-winning Spanish director Isabel Coixet, who attributes her interest in visual media dating back to her childhood.

“I guess I am a filmmaker because I am hopelessly romantic…because my parents took me to the cinema twice a week, sometimes even three times a week,” Coixet says as family home video footage unspools to a background soundtrack of an old 35 mm cinema projector running.

“I’m a filmmaker because I am a dreamer…because films are the stuff that dreams of made of,” she continues.

The clip – and others from members of the Spanish government and European film funds’ backed network, which launched in February during the Berlinale and had a number of events during Cannes, can be found at the EWA website.

Francine Raveney, the network’s Strasbourg-based British-born executive director, said the key aim of the campaign was to “promote women filmmakers having a voice."

The not-for-profit network, which is open to membership from both women and men, has won the backing of directors who include New Zealand’s Oscar winner (The Piano, 1994), Jane Campion.

EWA hopes the clips will help raise awareness of the dominance of men in European and world cinema.

“In Europe only one in every 10 box office hits is directed by a women,” Raveney told The Hollywood Reporter. “And this is in a continent where half the students at film school are women."

The network is hoping to help women directors with a development prize in association with Torino Film Lab, chosen for its “excellent reputation in Europe and because scripts are sometimes seen as a weakness and they specialize in ensuring scripts are well written,” Raveney added.

The network is still looking to raise funds from sponsors to help ensure its long-term survival, Raveney added.