Conference on gender equality to be held at Sarajevo Film Festival’s Regional forum

Representatives of ministries for culture and film funds from across Europe will gather in Sarajevo on August 14, where a European declaration on gender equality in film will be drafted.

Over the past few years, the issue of women’s position in the film industry has increasingly been debated, from the systematic underrepresentation of female directors in competition at many major festivals, and the lack of gender equality in terms of access to the industry to working conditions and attitudes to female filmmakers.

In connection with the opening of the 21st Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 14-22), a conference on the topic - “Women in today’s film industry: gender issues. Can we do better?” - has been organised in the framework of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, who have identified gender equality as one of their priorities.

It will result in the drafting of a Sarajevo declaration on women in film, including proposed measures for achieving greater equality in film.

Panelists include: Isabel Castro, Deputy Executive Director at the Eurimages film fund; Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, a leading organisation in action and data monitoring on this topic; Iris Zappe-Heller of the Austrian Film Institute, Aida Begić, award-winning Bosnian filmmaker; Holly Aylett, Head of Research for the European Women’s Audiovisual Network and author of an upcoming study on gender equality in film, and Sanja Ravlic, President of the Eurimages Gender Equality Working group.

The meeting will be opened by the Bosnian and Herzegovinian authorities Adil Osmanovic, Minister of Civil Affairs and Almir Šahović, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, will conclude the conference. The Ministries of Civil Affairs and Foreign Affairs organise the conference together with Sarajevo Film Festival.

Adil Osmanović, Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina said: “Given the impact films have on society as a whole it is vital that women play a greater role in both film and the film industry.”

Almir Šahović, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe added: “This is in line with the Council of Europe’s position on gender equality and its importance for a democratic European society, which respects the rule of law and human rights. A declaration and further recommendations on the topic would put Europe in a trailblazing position at international level in this area.”

Mirsad Purivatra, director of Sarajevo Film Festival, stated: “Gender equality is something the industry needs to work on, keep talking about but also know more about. Facts can pave the way for action.

“In Southeast Europe, the situation in many ways looks good, with many of our leading filmmakers being women. But there’s an overall lack of statistics.

“That’s why we’re especially happy to host this conference in connection with our own Regional Forum which since the start has been all about raising the level of knowledge, discussing the burning industry issues, and together finding ways for going forward.”

The meeting will take place in Sarajevo’s City Hall from 9.30am to 7pm on Aug 14.

It is open to national authories and film funds, and a limited number of observer seats are available for industry delegates.

To register and for more information, please contact the Industry Office -