82 women to walk the red carpet in Cannes film fest protest

Tonya Becker
May 13, 2018

There were tears and cheers on Saturday night in Cannes as 82 women walked the red carpet to protest the lack of female representation at the annual film festival.

The red carpet statement will unfold ahead of the gala premiere of the only French woman director with a film in competition, Eva Husson, whose movie, "Girls of the Sun", is about a Kurdish female battalion.

Cannes has set up a hotline for victims to report any abuse during the festival and will host a series of discussions on the issue.

Blanchett, the jury president of this year's festival, led the group and read out a statement from the steps of the Palais des Festivals, joined by French film director Agnes Varda, who read the statement in French. Women pose during an event where 82 women from the film industry walk the red carpet to represent the limited number of female filmmakers who have been selected for the festival's competition lineup over its 71 years.

"Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise", Blanchett said. Only one female director, Jane Campion in 1993, has received the Palme d'Or, though Varda won an honorary Palme d'Or in 2015. "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".

Cannes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years over the number of female directors selected into its main slate, considered one of the most esteemed achievements in cinema. Festival director Thierry Fremaux earlier this week hailed Saturday's event as a way for women "to affirm their presence". Arriving at the film festival as part of her partnership with L'Oréal makeup, she attended the premier for Ash Is The Purest White - and the singer's incredible dress was by Lebanese designer Zuhair Midas.

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