Cannes festival organisers vow to improve gender equality

Posted May 15, 2018

Led by president of the Cannes Film Festival Jury, Cate Blanchett, this year's panel is dominated by some impressive female names including actresses Lea Seydoux, Kristen Stewart, director Ava DuVernay, artist Khadja Nin as well as male directors Robert Guediguian, Denis Villenueve, Andrewy Zvyagintsev and Taiwanese actor Chang Chen.

The pledge was drawn up by the French gender equality group 50/50 en 2020, along with members of the Time's Up movement. "In the same period, 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs".

The number of protesters was highly symbolic as it represented the 82 films by female directors who have competed for the top Palme d'Or prize since 1946 - a number dwarfed by the almost 1,700 male contenders.

For reference, this year's Cannes Film Festival only has three films from female directors competing in a pool of 18.

"The Indian Pavilion has lots of importance as it is a tool to help connect worldwide film community and Europe with the Indian industry", said Mr. Jerome Paillard, Executive Director, Marche Du Film Festival, and Cannes Film Market.

"We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so they can best reflect the world in which we live", said Blanchett in a statement read out with the legendary 89-year-old French director Agnes Varda. "The world has changed".

The protest was held ahead of the premiere of French director Eva Husson's Girls of the Sun, which is one of 21 films up for the prestigious Palme d'Or this year.

Monday's pledge also calls for the festival to compile statistics breaking down the gender of filmmakers and major crew members for all films submitted to Cannes. Festival director Thierry Fremaux supported the march as a way for women "to affirm their presence".

"Even if there is a higher proportion of women showing films at Cannes, we're aware that it's not enough", said Fremaux.

India Pavilion at the on-going Cannes Film Festival that inaugurated two days before is treating to all Indian and Indian movie lovers. The Swiss brand is the official partner of the event and brings to Cannes 71 unique pieces to represent the 71st edition of the Festival.

After the signing, filmmaker Rebecca Zlotowski noted it was Blanchett's birthday, and attendees serenaded the actress with a rendition of "Happy Birthday".