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Cannes Wrap-Up: Festival President Admits They Need to Work Harder to Include Women Directors

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by Melissa Silverstein
May 29, 2012 11:25 AM
4 Comments
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But he also said:

The job of feminists and of people like me who like the work of female film-makers is to say to him: 'Are you sure there isn't somewhere a film by a woman that deserves to be competing?' That is always the conversation we have here."

I find that statement very confusing.  Did this conversation actually happen?  Because if it did then that means several female directed films were considered and rejected.  It would be great to know what was considered. 

He also admitted that by having four films by women last year in 2011--  after having no women directed films in 2010 -- probably set a bad precedent because then this year people would again expect four women -- or more -- to be in competition. 

Now everyone this year was expecting five films, then six, then seven. In France nowadays, they speak of parity. They want parity in government, parity everywhere, so why not at the Cannes film festival?"

Parity, parity, parity.  Damn those crazy women who want equality and parity.  La Barbe totally had it right in their manifesto where they talked about how last year "four women somehow sneaked themselves in..."

Congrats and thanks to everyone who took this issue seriously.  This matters because culture is important and it is vital that women's experiences be included in the cultural conversations.  We want girls and young women to believe that parity is possible that they won't be condescended to when they demand their rightful place at the table in any area they choose.

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4 Comments

  • Jan Lisa Huttner | June 7, 2012 12:35 AMReply

    Yo, Melissa: Been absorbed & just catching up, but HUGE CONGRATS for organizing the online petition!!! Despite the stupid (& oh so predictable) blow-back, you accomplished a great deal on this round & it will certainly pay off in future. BRAVA :-)

  • Ginger Liu | May 29, 2012 3:52 PMReply

    I just received this message from Hunter. "Hunter Todd • WorldFest has always had a special place for Femme Directors, and we always include them every year, from all over the world. This year, 35 female directors out of 155 films! Take that Cannes! Interestingly enough, we have no agenda about women directors, we only select our films because they are good! "Excellence is our only agenda" and 35 female directors were selected for screening and for Remi Awards. I does make one wonder about the selection process in other festivals if they cannot find one female director and we picked 35! The 46th WorldFest is 04/12-21, 2013 worldfest.org"

  • Ginger Liu | May 29, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    I'm still arguing this point to a few white guys out there who don't see the problem. Why would THEY see a problem. But maybe, just maybe reading about it and listening to us might have the issue sink in - might have them asking the same why.

  • debbie | May 29, 2012 1:26 PMReply

    Thank you Melissa for adding your voice to the conversation. These are older white men. A lot has changed during their lifetimes. I'm sure they don't intend to exclude women. It just happens, because it's always happened. The film industry is sadly way behind the times. If Cannes adds a few women to the selection committee and they make sure to watch the best films directed by women, that's at least a little progress in the right direction.

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