With the arrival of the 2018 Venice Film Festival, the world’s top film festival has come under fire for allowing white men to dictate the rules of the festival, even if it’s only for a year.
A year after white supremacists protested the festival by organizing an anti-white rally, the festival’s governing body announced it would not allow white men and women to speak during its events.
The decision has sparked widespread criticism, particularly from the women of color that are participating in the festival.
“For the first time in the history of this film festival, it will not allow women and people of color to speak,” said a statement from the organizers.
“The festival has become a platform for white supremacists, racists, and bigots to say whatever they want to the exclusion of everyone else.
We believe the exclusionary rules that have been in place for decades and are now being imposed by the governing body is not a solution.”
The rules, as outlined by the festival and posted on the festival website, require the use of two sets of speakers for each film.
One set will feature a “representative” white person, the other will feature “a person of color” speaking.
In order to qualify, a film must be “based on real life events,” including the deaths of a person of a particular race, and feature a documentary that explores “racial, sexual, gender, or other identities.”
“We believe that inclusion is more important than exclusion,” the organizers wrote.
“If you don’t agree, you are not welcome at the festival.”
The film festival’s rules were met with widespread criticism from both white people and people from other racial groups.
“They’re not interested in having conversations with people of other races.
They’re just interested in being the gatekeepers to tell the world that they’re the gatekeeper,” said Maya Angelou, a white writer and filmmaker.
“It’s a real shame, because we need to talk about how to live together.”
In an email to The Verge, the organizers explained the reasoning behind the rule changes.
The festival’s goal is to showcase the full range of cinema and present the full spectrum of voices.
We have an incredibly diverse audience, and diversity is important to us.
We do not wish to exclude anyone because of their race or gender.
The only exception to the rule will be for documentaries, and we have already begun to look at those that will be included in the 2017 selection of films.
“Our goal is for the festival to be a space for diverse voices, not exclusion,” they wrote.