HONG KONG – Spanish actress Marta Belaustegui urged the Asian film industry on Wednesday to be more sensitive to gender issues, while attending the screening of her movie “Julia’s decision” at the China Women’s Film festival in Hong Kong.
The actress-filmmaker was a guest-of-honor at the film festival, which is the only festival in the country that focuses on films on women’s empowerment and LGBT rights.
“The movement to demand gender equality is so necessary that it does not matter where you are; for the first time women are speaking out aloud, together, and now is the moment to extend the bonds beyond borders, in Hong Kong and in Asia,” Belaustegui told EFE.
“The schools of performing arts and direction in Spain are full of women, but the percentage of women workers in the sector is abysmal as compared to men, only 10 percent are female. It is time to turn things around,” the 52-year-old actress asserted.
Belaustegui had headed the International Film Festival of Women in Direction, held in Cuenca, Spain, for 5 years before it closed in 2015 over a lack of funds.
“It was a brilliant platform to give visibility to women directors from all over the world, whose work would not have reached us otherwise,” she said.
The China Women’s film festival, which began in 2013 with an aim to start a debate surrounding gender issues and LGBT rights, would be showing 11 films this year and will continue until March 11.
This is the first time, however, that the festival is being held in Hong Kong, as the more liberal environment in the city allows organizers to show films, which might have been banned in the mainland, according to Li Dan, the head of the festival.
“In China, there is a lack of awareness about the hardships faced by women; social movements which go against men are not allowed, and the well-known power of the censors affects everyone,” Li said.