A fund named Venus Victrix was created recently in France to assist women directors across the world to meet their production finances. The fund is set to be launched by French Cultural Minister, Françoise Nyssen.

Venus Victrix will support around 10 to 20 women-directed projects. The fund also aims to bridge the gender gap in production and directorial roles. It will encourage more women-driven stories to be developed

With the help of Eric Garandeau, president of National Center of Cinematography and the moving image (CNC), the fund creation began. CNC is a government-run agency which comes under the French Ministry of Culture. The fund will take the form of an endowment. This will benefit the donors (individuals and firms) by a 60% tax cut on contributions.

Support for women in cinema

The idea for the fund is to regroup different partner brands which will join forces to give “tangible support for the cause of women in cinema” said Garandeau, as reported by Variety. “Talk is good, Action is better. Salma Hayek and Frances McDormand summarized the necessary action very succinctly when they said ‘What women need to make more films is money!’”

Several financial institutions will back the fund. Talks are ongoing in regard to possible collaboration with fashion houses and other partners.

The European Women’s Audiovisual Network did a research on Gender Equality in cinema. According to the research, 84% of public funding resources are given to male-directed films in Europe. Additionally, 56% of industry insiders still believe that a female director will negatively affect private funding decisions.

Cannes becomes a platform for discussion

This year, Cannes Film Festival saw recurring debates about the lack of gender equality in international cinema. Many pointed out that there is a lack of women in senior positions. The proportion of female directors as compared to their male counterparts is also significantly less.  Cannes has shown a poor record in terms of selecting female filmmakers. This has been heavily criticised. Only one female director, Jane Campion, has won the festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or.

France 24 reported, “The Cannes director, Thierry Frémaux, has repeatedly stressed that he chooses films based on merit and not on gender. This year only three female directors made the cut in the Palme d’Or race, out of a total of 21 – the exact same number as in last year’s edition, which preceded #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment and in support of gender parity in cinema.”

In light of this, earlier this month, the leaders of the Cannes Film Festival signed a gender equality pledge. With the pledge, they promise to make their selection process more transparent and to push their executive boards toward gender equality. Consequently, the fund will help push this change.

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Nimisha Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV

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