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Los Angeles: Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro has said that he favour a 50-50 ratio between the male and female filmmakers by 2019 to promote genders equality at film festivals. 

The director's comment came in response to the controversy surrounding the Venice Film Festival, also known as Biennale, which has been slammed for selecting only one female director in its 2018 competition line-up.

"I think that the goal has to be clear, and has to remain 50/50 by 2020. If it's 50/50 by 2019, better. It's a real problem we have in the culture in general," Del Toro told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about the shortcomings of the festival where he is serving as the jury president.

The organisers of Cannes Film Festival had signed a pledge to increase gender equality in the programming by 20/20, and they were followed by Locarno Film Festival organisers who also undertook a similar resolution. 

"It's a real problem we have in the culture in general. Many of the voices that should be heard, need to be heard. I believe it's important that it's not a matter of establishing a quota. It's a matter of in this time, precisely in this time of the conversation. It's extremely important to call it out and to question it and to name it and to make it known," Del Toro said.

The "Shape of Water" director said for years, the problem of gender disparity has not been addressed and believes now was the moment to address the issue.

"It's extremely important to call it out, and to question it and to name it, and to make it known. I think that is necessary, because for many decades, if not centuries, it has not been called. It's not a controversy, it's a real problem, and it needs to be solved, in every one of our pertinent departments, with strength and resolve," he said.

The director cited the presence of Taika Waitit, Naomi Watts, Malgorzata Szumowska and Nicole Garcia in the festival jury to highlight the diversity efforts currently being made.

"The composition of the jury is five women and four men, and it is about bringing that in a significant way when the conversation is at a significant stage, as it is right now. This is not a gesture, it's a need," he said.



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