Following his triumph at last year's festival where he took home the coveted Golden Lion, the "Shape of Water" director, Guillermo del Toro, kicked off this year's celebrations in his new role of Jury President by addressing the persistent issue of gender disparity in the film industry, The Guardian reported. Artistic director Alberto Barbera has also been criticised for admitting he would rather abandon his position than succumb to a quota for women, claiming it would have a negative effect on the rationale behind the selection process. Despite this, the festival is expected to follow the likes of rivals Cannes and Locarno, both of which signed a pledge earlier this month that promises, amongst other things, increased transparency when it comes to submissions.

The Nightingale

Although 45 percent of this year's cinema programmers are female, only one Film out of a total of 21 has been directed by a woman: Jennifer Kent's "The Nightingale". The Australian director, who made her directorial debut with cult classic "The Babadook" in 2014, is the solitary female in the running for this year's Golden Lion for directing, a feat achieved a mere four times in the festival's history by Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, Margarethe von Trotta and Agnès Varda. The movie, starring Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin, is set in 1825 in Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, as Clare, a young Irish convict, pursues a British officer for inexcusable acts of violence committed against her family.


But whilst these statistics are reminiscent of a long-standing problem within the Hollywood film circuit, festivals around the world are finally starting to take female filmmakers seriously. Organisers behind the 62nd BFI London Film Festival, which is due to take place October 10-21, have this week revealed that 38 percent of the directors in this year's programme are women.

In addition to this, 30 percent of their chosen feature films were helmed by women, a six percent increase from last year's 24 percent and all without the inclusion of a quota with artistic director Tricia Tuttle agreeing that whilst fair representation of female directors is a top priority, being able to deliver world-class content to audiences is "always at the heart" of their "curatorial process".

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