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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Women make mark at Cannes
Sharon Rose
Global market: International coordinator Sharon Rose
By BBC News Online's Tim Masters

The increasing role of women in the male-dominated film world was evident in Cannes at an international get-together of the Women in Film and Television organisation.


It's a global buddy system for girls in the industry

Elizabeth Morgan-Hemlock, Wild Films
With 10,000 members around the world, the WFTV is busy extending its operations.

"Africa has just come on board," says Sharon Rose, the WFTV's international coordinator. "We have branches in South Africa and Zimbabwe - and a China delegation is over in Cannes."

Networking

The UK branch alone has 900 members, and the buzzword is "networking".

Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock, Marlow de Mardt, Debi Nethersole
Delegates from Wales, South Africa and London
"It's about education, making contacts and new friends," says Rose, whose business interests include a recording studio specializing in film scores.

She also finds time to be a singer and actress, and is working on a stage musical called Glamour that pays tribute to celebrities of the 20th century.

Ingrid Stellmacher, a creative producer based in London and Germany, has been involved in WFTV for four years.

"It brings people together from all over the world. Sometimes producing films is a lonely biz, especially for a small independent company, but this gives them the opportunity to get in touch with larger companies."

"It's a man's world - but in the media industry women have been forging ahead consistently. But something like WFTV is a big help - especially if you're new."

"It's an incredible organisation," Debi Nethersole, a South African film producer relocated to London, "it's got advice and support, whether it's about music, writing or legal problems."

Elizabeth Morgan-Hemlock, from Wild Films in Wales, says: "It's a global buddy system for girls in the industry - if someone arrives for Jamaica and wants to meet all the TV companies the WFTV can set that up."

And being a global organisation, the internet has a role to play. The international committees meet in a chat room every few weeks.

Men, too

"We also accept men in the States!" declares Carol Bidault, a financial and distribution consultant in Washington DC.

Danish director Annelise Hovmand (right) and DC's Carol Bidault
Danish director Annelise Hovmand (right) and DC's Carol Bidault
"I get to meet women from the world who have a shared problem - access to a worldwide market."

One honorary member is Danish ex-director Annelise Hovmand, who now owns five cinemas in her home country.

She was awarded her first cinema license by the government in recognition of her film work.

"My first film was about how to take care of your children when you are a working woman - that's the one I'm most proud of.

"My last film was about female artists who were as good as men, but were at the time were not recognised.

"My films have always reflected the role of women in society."


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