At the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the Swedish Film Institute launched an initiative entitled the FiftyFifty by 2020 charter, a gender equality pledge that entreats film festivals to commit to attaining complete women empowerment in the filmmaking industry by next year.
This month, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) has become the first ever Arab Film Festival, and the second African, to sign the 5050×2020 gender equality charter.
In a gala, where the Saudi Arabian fantasy film ‘Scales’ is scheduled to screen, the official signing ceremony of the pledge will take place, with the President of the CIFF and renowned Producer, Mohamed Hefzy, heading the Egyptian delegation.
Hefzy has also stated that the festival already keeps a good track record in terms of female representation. In last year’s edition, CIFF has brought a number of female filmmakers to the spotlight, celebrating their impact on Arab cinema.
Some other 60 international film festivals have already signed the charter; these include Berlin, Locarno, Venice, Toronto, San Sebastian, London, Sarajevo, Los Angeles, Rome and New York, as well as the Annecy animation and Clermont-Ferrand shorts festivals.
According to Hefzy, when he first viewed the articles of the pledge and the commitments the festival has to make, he felt glad, as Cairo International Film Festival had already fulfilled most of the conditions on its own.
“We’re extremely happy that Cairo has decided to sign the pledge, showing their attachment to the issue of equality and inclusion in the Arab region. We hope many other festivals in the region will follow their lead,” said Delphyne Besse of France’s Collectif 50/50, who has been a driving force behind rolling out the charter worldwide.