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82 women protesting at Cannes win a pledge for more women directors

82 women protesting at Cannes win a pledge for more women directors
[Photo: courtesy of Festival De Cannes]

On Monday morning, high-ranking representatives from the Cannes Film Festival signed a pledge to deliver more work by women filmmakers into the world-renowned film festival.

The move stems from a red carpet protest by 82 female actors, writers, directors, and producers at the festival on Friday. 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. (Jane Campion won for The Piano in 1993.)

“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,” Cannes jury president Cate Blanchett and French director Agnes Varda read from a statement during the protest. “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.”

The Cannes representatives are the first to sign the Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals, a document created by the French gender-parity group 50/50 by 2020. Rather than demanding a certain percentage of films directed by women, according to Screen Daily, the pledge calls for festivals to push for parity on their executive boards, compile statistics on the gender of the filmmakers and key crew members for all submitted films, and increase the transparency of the selection process by publicly announcing selection committee members.

Once these guidelines are implemented, the festival should organically see a sharp uptick in films directed by women.

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