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Venice Juror Jennifer Kent Disappointed at Lack of Women

Jennifer Kent, a member of this yr’s jury for the Venice International Film Festival whose movie “The Nightingale” was the one female-directed movie in final yr’s competitors, says she’s disillusioned that this yr’s Venice options solely two movies directed by girls out of 21 in competitors.

“I think it’s an issue,” Kent advised TheWrap, who broke out together with her 2014 debut function “The Babadook” and received a particular jury prize for “The Nightingale” in Venice final yr. “I hoped there would be more. I really did.”

The Australian filmmaker famous the challenges that she and ladies like this yr’s jury president, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel (“Zama”), confronted within the movie business even within the midst of requires larger gender illustration. “There are some incredible women out there making films, and we need to see them, and they need to be in festivals, A-list festivals, and have the opportunity that men are having,” she mentioned. “All I can do from my perspective is keep making films, no matter how hard it is.”

Reps for the Venice pageant didn’t return a number of requests for remark, although pageant chief Alberto Barbera defended the competitors lineup to Variety by noting that lower than 24% of this yr’s 1,860 submissions got here from feminine administrators: “What I’m never going to do is take a movie directed by a woman just to raise the proportion.”

Still, Kent provided reward for the variety of this yr’s jury, which additionally options former Toronto movie pageant director Piers Handling, actress Stacy Martin, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, director Tsukamoto Shinya and director Paolo Virzi.

Kent added that whereas she will solely pretty decide the movies as she sees them, she hopes to have the ability to give the 2 movies directed by girls some love. “It’s really important to have a female voice within the jury,” Kent mentioned. “I generally marvel if ‘The Nightingale’ was obtained in a unique mild as a result of it was directed by a lady. We can’t escape this, however what are you able to do?

“Well, you may simply preserve going and preserve making tales you consider in,” she continued. “And in terms of encouraging, I cannot encourage younger women enough to have faith in their voice and trust that their films can get made and that people will want to see them. We need you.”

The two movies directed by girls featured within the lineup are “The Perfect Candidate,” from Haifaa al Mansour, and “Babyteeth” from director Shannon Murphy. In the final three years of the pageant, together with 2019, 63 movies have competed for the highest prize, and solely 4 have been directed by girls.

Venice’s foremost competitors slate additionally fell wanting different worldwide movie festivals. The Toronto International Film Festival managed a fair cut up of female and male administrators. Cannes had 4 girls on their slate earlier this yr, and Berlin had seven.

Roman Polanski’s subsequent movie “J’Accuse” can be among the many movies competing for the pageant’s high prize. He is making his first look at a serious pageant since he was expelled from the U.S.’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in May 2018, with the choice by the AMPAS Board of Governors referencing his 1978 responsible plea to a cost of statutory rape. His presence particularly among the many slate along with a scarcity of feminine voices sparked some backlash many in Hollywood.

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