Movies by women to get special subsidy in France

PARIS • France wants to play best supporting act, giving movies made by women a special subsidy in a bid to counter sexism in the industry.

Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen, who helped launch the 50/50 pledge on gender equality earlier this year, said productions that are exemplary on equality will get an extra 15 per cent subsidy.

The new bonus will work on a points system, she noted, with productions given one point for a female director, scriptwriter or chief technician.

A film will have to get eight points to qualify for the extra cash.

"When things do not change themselves or change too slowly, we have to change them ourselves," the minister said as she announced the experiment.

It will initially last for a year.

"We cannot wait any longer," Ms Nyssen said.

"The figures oblige us to act. As it stands, only one film in six would qualify for this subsidy."

In May, she and her Swedish counterpart launched an international fund to get more women behind the camera at the Cannes film festival.

She also pressured the world's biggest festival into signing up to the 50/50 for 2020 charter, in what was hailed as a coup by campaigners.

Many stars at the Venice film festival earlier this month wore 50/50 badges and lapel pins to support the initiative.

The new French measures are specifically targeted at opening up technical positions to women, which have remained an almost exclusively male preserve.

Subsidies are a key motor for the film industry, particularly in Europe, with many movies relying on seed cash and tax write-off schemes.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2018, with the headline 'Movies by women to get special subsidy in France'. Print Edition | Subscribe