A total of Eighty-two women from the film industry came together at the Cannes red carpet this year, including Jane Fonda, Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart and Ava DuVernay to silently protest against the shortage of female directors at the festival.
The group of women also included the director of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins, Salma Hayek, and French documentary maker, Agnès Varda, they all walked together in silence along the red carpet, they stopped at the middle of the steps at the entrance to the Palais des Festivals, the convention center where the Cannes Film Festival is held every year. The act was performed to indicate the troubles women face “to climb the social and professional ladder”.
The protest was concluded by Blanchett and Agnes Varda where they read a statement compiled by the group demanding that governments should maintain equal pay laws and institutions should provide safer working environments for women.
The statement concluded by saying, “Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,
“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.
“We stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and progress. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb.”
The protest was prepared by 5050×2020, a group that aims to address gender issues in the film industry and reach equity in Hollywood by the year 2020. The group said that the number of women was chosen strategically to match the number of movies directed by female film-makers selected for the competition at the festival.
This year’s Cannes Film Festival that started on 8th May and ends on 19th May has chosen three films made by women out of a total of 21 films. This has received a lot of criticism from the audience and the festival director, Thierry Fremaux responded to that by saying that the Festival will select a higher number of movies directed by women in the future.