Women Of Hollywood Protest At The Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival was more than the movies and fashion on the red carpet this year. 82 women in the film industry marched for gender equality before a screening of Eva Husson's Girls of the Sun. Some of the women who took part in the march were Cate Blanchett, who is this year's Cannes film festival jury president, actresses Kristen Stewart, Jane Fonda, Marion Cotillard, and Salma Hayek, directors Patty Jenkins, Ava DuVernay, Haifaa Al Mansour, and agents Hylda Queally and Maha Dakhil.
Since the launch of the Cannes Film Festival in 1942, only 82 films directed by women have been honored by an official selection in competition, compared to 1,645 films directed by men. Arm in arm the women gathered to march up the steps of the Palais in Cannes. Cate Blanchett delivered a statement on the red carpet, calling out the film industry for the lack of women representation.
"As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress," Blanchett said. "We are writers, producers, directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents, and all involved in the cinematic arts."
These women are marching to express how hard it still is to climb the social and professional ladder as a woman in the film industry. Cannes was under increasing scrutiny in recent years over the number of female directors entered for recognition at Cannes, which is considered one of the most esteemed achievements in film. Jane Campion is the only female filmmaker to ever win Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or.
"I hope this Cannes is going to initiate conversations that we need to have," Eva Husson said, in an interview with Vanity Fair. "It’s high time. It’s healthy. It’s scary. It’s exploding in the face of a lot of people. The patriarchy has not seen it coming so they feel really threatened by it. It’s a huge paradigm shift."
Male films sell better than films created by women some critiques would say. In this day and age, we are seeing that isn't entirely true. With directors like Patty Jenkins and Ava DuVernay creating blockbusters hits like Wonder Women and Selma, you can't say women can't create a good film. Nearly 84% of female directors made only one film in the 10-year period covered by USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study compared with 55.3% of men.
The red-carpet protest was organized by French women, from a movement known as 5050 by 2020 that worked with women from Time's Up movement. The activism will continue on Monday at another Cannes event, where the women will ask Frémaux, as well as the artistic directors of the Directors’ Fortnight and Cannes Critics’ Week to sign a programming pledge for parity and inclusion at Cannes going forward.