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The women who asked for the creation of a forum that deals with cases of sexual misconduct at Valladolid International Film Week. Photo: Javier Álvarez.

Women of Spain’s Film Industry Unite Against Sexual Harassment

In the wake of the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein—the film producer who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by more than fifty women within the film and fashion industries—a group of women within the Spanish film world have asked for the creation of a forum that deals with cases of sexual misconduct, reports Rocío García of El País. The announcement was made during Valladolid International Film Week, a festival that started on October 21 and runs through October 28, 2017, in Valladolid, Spain. The Spanish film academy’s board of directors has promised to look into the matter. The Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media, also known as CIMA, created more than a decade ago, will develop a questionnaire that will be used as a guide for defining cases of sexual harassment.

In a study conducted by the Union of Actors, 60 percent of all film roles for actors thirty-five years of age and younger are given to men, while 40 percent go to women. The percentage of jobs that go to male actors increases to 67 percent between the ages of thirty-nine and forty-five. Between forty-five and sixty-four, it goes up to 70 percent. “Being an actor in Spain is complicated, but it’s much worse as an actress,” said Spanish actress Ana Gracia. Coral Cruz, a screenwriter who says she’s never been sexually harassed, still acknowledged that she has been pigeonholed as a writer because of her gender, and asked that her fellow female writers work to extricate themselves from the niche many of them have been forced into: “Women are able to write stories for the general public. We should not be reduced to only intimate and low-budget films. It makes it difficult for the industry to see us as an example of profitability. We have to rely on ourselves more.” Of the ten Spanish blockbusters from last year, not one was authored by a woman.

The inequality is widespread: In a CIMA study that will be presented next month, only three films directed by women in 2016—from a pool of thirty-one films directed in Spain that year—received production assistance. And the country’s Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes (The Institute of Cinematography and the Arts, an entity overseen by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports) gave only 27.7 percent of its funding to women working mainly on low-budget projects or documentaries.

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