Film is such a powerful and important medium and it has a huge impact on society. It can't be healthy to have such an imbalance and I can't actually believe it's still as extreme as it is,' says Rachel Millward, founder of UK organisation Birds Eye View (BEV), which supports women film-makers. She may be talking about the under-representation of women in the film industry but the same could easily be applied to the lack of black, ethnic minority, indigenous, disabled, lesbian and gay film-makers across the film industry worldwide.
In many countries the problem is not being actively addressed. Italian director Anna Negri, who was awarded a box of anti-wrinkle cream for winning a 'women in film' prize for her feature Good Morning Heartache last year, points out: 'Even the most innovative film-makers in Italy don't think that women are misrepresented, because the macho mentality is so rooted.'
African-Spanish director Santiago Zannou, who made the Goya award-winning El Truco Del Manco, a film about a disabled musician, says: 'There are still very few minorities represented in (Spanish) cinema.'
But in the US, the UK and Australia in particular, efforts are being made to redress the balance through training programmes designed to help under-represented groups break into the fiercely competitive film business. Meanwhile in France, the barriers in some sectors of the industry appear to have already been breached to some extent.
These training programmes do not seem to have been born out of simple political correctness. As Janine Marmot, outgoing head of UK training body Skillset, says: 'Diversity is not wholly altruistic - most studios now have heads of diversity, because there is an economic argument to make films which reflect their audiences.'
With training comes the issue of funding. And with budgets being slashed everywhere, training is often the first thing to go. In the UK, for example, most of the programmes appear to be one-offs.
Marmot says it is up to the industry to think in the long term. 'In an economic downturn, people look to cut costs, but training is the cornerstone for a successful industry, so it would be a grave mistake and short-sighted for the industry to turn its back on it.'