Culture&Arts

Cannes film fest vows parity push for women

Cannes film fest vows parity push for women

Eighty-two women including Cate Blanchett and Ava DuVernay marched up the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday to protest gender inequality at the festival and in the wider film industry. That specific number is a reference to the 82 women who have competed in the 71 years of the festival, compared to more than 1,600 men, with only one woman ever winning the festival's top honor, the Palme d'Or.

Their signatures hit the page just two days after 82 female film industry figures staged a red-carpet protest at the world-famous French film festival, demanding an end to gender imbalance in the film industry. We hope that it will reinforce the realisation that the world is not the same anymore. In the same period 1688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs. In the 71 years of this world renowned festival, there have been only 12 female heads of its juries. "The world has changed".

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The pledge was drawn up by the French gender-parity group 50/50 by 2020, which brought in other groups including Time's Up.

"We must question our history and our habits", the Cannes festival director added, calling on other worldwide film festivals to follow suit.

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In 2018 only three out of the 21 directors in the competition for the Palme d'Or are women. Saturday's protest came ahead of the premiere of Eva Husson's "Girls of the Sun", which is about a Kurdish battalion of women soldiers.

In the past, Fremaux has pointed out that the Cannes festival screens films directed by women at a much higher percentage than are made in the movie industry itself. Festival bosses signed up to several pledges, including that they will compile statistics according to gender, that they will make the members of selection committees and programmers public, and to sign up to a schedule for equal representation on their executive bodies. The attendees broke into a rendition of "Happy Birthday" for the Hollywood actress after the signing.

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