Jury members Shinya Tsukamoto, from left, Piers Handling, Stacy Martin, Mary Harron, Jury President Lucrecia Martel, Paolo Virzì and Rodrigo Prieto pose for photographers at the photo call for the jury at the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Venice Film Festival opens with debate over Polanski, quotas

August 28, 2019 - 12:15 pm

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Leaders of the 76th Venice International Film Festival have kicked off the festival by debating the inclusion of a film by Roman Polanski and the limited numbers of female directors in competition.

Speaking Wednesday at the opening day press conference, jury president Lucrecia Martel welcomed the debate over the inclusion of a Polanski film, but said as an advocate for women in Argentina dealing with sexual misconduct issues, she wouldn't attend the gala dinner around his film or congratulate him.

Festival director Alberto Barbera again defended including Polanski's film, saying his judgment stops at the film.

He also flatly rejected the idea of quotas for female filmmakers. He said he would have accepted more films by women if the quality was there.

The Venice film festival runs through Sept. 7.

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