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Cannes festival organisers vow to improve gender equality

15 May 2018
Cannes festival organisers vow to improve gender equality

Since the launch of the Cannes Film Festival, only 82 films directed by women have been honoured by an official selection in competition, compared to 1,645 films directed by men, a ratio of less than five per cent.

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. She said her fellow female stars were calling for "a world that allows all of us, in front and behind the camera, to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues".

"The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all", she concluded.

Producer and activist Melissa Silverstein of Women and Hollywood said the protest was a "massive milestone towards change". 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. She also said many women become victims of discrimination, harassment and violence.

On today's premiere of French Director Eva Husson's "Girls of the sun" (Les Filles Du Soleil) will be talking for a long time.

"Several members of the worldwide film festival of India, Goa were present at Cannes this year".

Panelist Andres Gomez, an Oscar-winning Spanish producer, reportedly said Saudi talents would benefit more if Saudi films travel outside to other festivals overseas compared to having a festival in Saudi Arabia.

Blanchett has criticised Cannes for once again failing to invite more female directors.

One of the first women to call out Weinstein, Blanchett co-founded the "Time's Up" movement to support abuse victims.

The signing of the pledge coincided with 2018 jury head Blanchett's birthday.

As part of the debut Saudi presence at the worldwide festival, nine short films by young Saudi directors were screeed in the Short Film Corner, including Is Sumiyati Going to Hell? by Meshal Aljaser, about a maid working for racist employers, and Alkaif by Seba Alluqmani, about the country's coffee tradition.