A t this year’s Cannes film festival, 82 women stood on the red carpet ahead of the Girls of the Sun premiere in a silent protest against the lack of representation of female directors on the show schedule.The film industry remains dominated by male stories and voices, and often limited to American visions. But this year’s BFI London Film Festival is striving to change all that. Out of 385 films originating across 77 countries being shown over 12 days (10-21 October), 38 per cent are directed by women. It’s a number that has steadily increased since the 19.9 per cent of 2011.Tricia Tuttle, artistic director of the LFF, says: “It’s really important that the BFI London Film Festival is diverse, inclusive. It’s what we want; it’s what audiences want.“What one can see at cinemas on any given Friday night across the UK is very monocultural: almost exclusively English-language, offering little global perspective; with very few films directed by women. And stories most often centre on white protagonists.”But, says Tuttle, film festivals have the opportunity to change this. “They can and should provide a window onto the world we all live in, that variety of perspective that makes art exciting, meaningful and relevant.”Mia Bays, director-at-large of feminist film collective Birds Eye View, which seeks to promote the work of female filmmakers, says: “It’s really heartening to see certain key festivals making a concerted effort to set and meet higher than average programming targets, to move the dial on gender equality.