annecy animation film festival feminist


 Annecy honours women in animation.

By: Alexandra Burlaud

For years now, the debate rages to know if the Cannes Festival is sexist. This year during the last edition of the French festival a new rumour saying that women have been turned away from the red carpet for wearing flat shoes, has relaunched the debate. Even if the Festival de Cannes’ head Thierry Frémaux has denied the rumor, the fact remains that the only woman that won the Palme d’or was Jane Campion in 1993 with the movie “La leçon de piano”. However, it is not unusual that women are nominated for famous awards; for example Lisa Cholodenko won several prizes like the Oscars and the Golden Globe with the film: “The Kids Are All Right”. Unfortunately, even if some of them are nominated and rewarded, women stay in minority in the cinema industry.

As the most well known French Festival is heavily criticized and accused of sexism, Annecy International Animation Film Festival is taking a feminist stance. They positively surprised the audience by the choice of a feminine theme. This year the festival paid tribute to women, with a jury exclusively composed by women, from all around the world. A special programs was dedicated to films by women and films realized by the students of Gobelin l’école de l’image, to pay tribute to women pioneer of animation such as Lotte Reiniger, Mary Blair, Joy Batchelor, Mary Ellen Bute, Alison de Vere, Evelyn Lambart and Claire Parker.

So why is Annecy focusing on women in Animation? According to Marcel Jean, artistic delegate of the Annecy Festival, the choice of a feminine edition is because since the thirties women were stuck to a few jobs in the cinema industry, even today, short films directed by women represent less than third of the movies received at Annecy. The Annecy Festival, with this special edition wanted to measure the progress made and pay tribute to the women pioneers. The idea was noble; will a feminine edition promote gender-equality in the industry? WIA (women in animation) co-presidents Kristy Scanlan says “Having a presence at Annecy this year has given us the amazing opportunity to meet the women who have made a name for themselves in a largely male-driven industry, and to learn from their perspective and experience,”

 In the wider world of cinema the picture is the same Sweden, one of the countries the most advanced in term of equally for gender created the Bechdel test, which attests if the movie is, or is not, sexist. This test shows that some of the most well known movies are sexist such as Star Wars or the Lord of rings.

Does this test really help the fight against sexism? The jury is still out, even if the result may be considered as interesting; some are against. Swedish Czech born film critic Hynek Pallas declared to AP “There are far too many films that pass the Bechdel test that don’t help at all in making society more equal or better, and lots of films that don’t pass the test but are fantastic at those things,” .”

Others would say that women are less represented than men in the cinema industry and as a result, they win fewer awards than men. A logic explanation that obliged us to ask ourselves what are the obstacles that prevent women to access to the cinema industry. The problem is known by everyone and visible every day. However a real solution still is not within reach.

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