By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 18, 2012 at 12:14PM
It's been very interesting to watch the opening of the Cannes Film Festival. In light of the fact that there are no women directors in competition and the great work of La Barbe, at the opening press conference the jury as well as the directors of the festival were confronted with a barrage of questions about the issue.
I remember two years ago when there were no women directors in competition and there was a petition started "You Cannes Not Be Serious" but there was not that much media converage and that was just after Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for best director.
What a difference two years makes. The media and the public (thanks to social media) are way more attuned to this issue and we refuse to let the issue rest.
I feel for Andrea Arnold -- the only female director on the jury -- for having to be the representative to speak out on the topic. She spoke about her disappoinment but not surprise but defended the festival against sexism. It's a tough spot for any director to be put in, even one as feminst as Arnold. Here's what she said:
In response to this continuing problem, Women and Hollywood has put together a petition directed to the jurors of the festival. Here it is:
You will spend the next 11 days watching 22 films that the programmers and leaders of the Cannes Film Festival deemed to be the worthiest of this year's competition.
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Festival Films including last year's Oscar winner The Artist have gone on to have long and successful lives, and filmmakers' careers have been launched on the Croisette. As we all know, the opportunities to have your film seen on a world stage is invaluable.
For the 2012 edition, as with the 2010 edition, there are NO FEMALE DIRECTED FILMS in competition, and in the 64 years of the Festival only one woman -- Jane Campion -- has been awarded the Palme D'Or.
Read the rest of the petition and join the over 1,000 people calling for transparency in the selection process.
I want to thank everyone for their support and help.
Here are some media stories about the petition:
Cannes 2012: 700 Protesters Sign Petition Demanding More Women Directors (Hollywood Reporter)
Cannes 2012 Sexist? Lack Of Woman Directors In Competition Spurs Outrage (Huffington Post)