Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Cannes leaders sign gender equality plegde following protest

Cannes leaders sign gender equality plegde following protest

As 5050×2020 made note prior to the red carpet protest on May 13, only 82 films directed by women have competed for the Palme d'Or in Cannes' 71-year history.

Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux, Directors' Fortnight artistic director Edouard Waintrop and Critics' Week chief Charles Tesson were the first signatories of a new charter aimed at improving gender parity at global film festivals, reported Deadline.

Eighty-two women climbed the steps of the Palais des Festivals at the Cannes Film Festival in an unprecedented red carpet protest to press for improved gender equality in the film industry. The pledge will be signed by Thierry Frémaux, the general delegate of the Cannes Festival, Edouard Waintrop, the artistic director of Director's Fortnight, and Charles Tesson, the artistic director of Critic's week.

Protesters included Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Ava DuVernay, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek and Lea Seydoux among other film industry professionals.

The protest was co-organized by 5050x2020, a movement striving for gender parity in the French cinema. "We stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination to change and progress".


Fremaux's promise to make selection committees transparent in order "to rule out any suspicion of a lack of diversity or parity" marks a significant step for the prominent film industry figure, who is also the head of the French-focused Lumiere Film Festival and the Institut Lumiere.

Fremaux has repeatedly insisted that the festival chooses its films purely based on quality.

One woman, Varda, has won the Honorary Palme d'Or, which has been presented seven times over the last 17 years. The 2018 festival has 21 directors in competition but only three are women: Eve Husson ("Girls of the Sun"), Nadine Labaki ("Capernaum"), and Alice Rohrwacher ("Lazarro Felice").

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. The attendees broke into a rendition of "Happy Birthday" for the Hollywood actress after the signing.

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