The Kering Foundation, in partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, created ‘Women in Motion’ as a five-year initiative to advocate women’s rights and fair representation of
their perspectives and stories in the film industry. Kering is a luxury goods company, originally called PPR when founded in 1963 by French billionaire
François Pinault. Now run by his son François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO, it has recently changed its name to Kering to signify the profound change in
the strategy of the group. Its two segments include Luxury and Sporting Groups. Think of the luxury offered by Balenciaga, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Stella
McCartney, Bottega Veneto, Boucheron, Brioni among others in this group and Sport & Lifestyle which includes Puma, Volcom and others.
When Thierry Fremaux of Cannes introduced the Cannes Film Festival line-up this year at the official press conference, he also introduced Kering as a
Cannes Partner and in doing so unleashed accusations of commercial opportunism Never before has Cannes linked its festival films in the press conference
with commercial sponsorship.
When Kering made the announcement that they would work with Cannes,
critics closest to them, that is, the French press particularly, accused Kering of being opportunistic in taking up the banner of women, their rights,
stopping the violence against women, as if jumping on the band wagon of a cause for reasons other than those of altruism was not legitimate for a
Thierry Fremaux is also the constant target of criticism on the woman front and has stated (erroneously) that only during Cannes does the subject of the
paucity of women directors and in the industry at large make headlines. In fact, women have been weighing the imbalance of women in this public form of
entertainment for the past five years and at every key event they have been making public statements and holding meetings about the disproportion of women
to men in a concerted effort to bring continued momentum to the movement toward equal representation.
Furthermore and for the record, Kering has expressed its strategic shift to a new sort of advocacy away from outright branding to showing its interest in
events of value to society in other ways beyond this important event in Cannes.
François-Henri Pinault was the first to stand up publicly against Shariah law of active discrimination of the LGBT community by forbidding Kering employees in all its companies from entering the
Dorchester chain of hotels such as the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills Hotel, The Bel Air Hotel, the Peninsula, St. Regis, Raffles, Claridges,
Mandarin, Principe de Savoie, Adlon Kempensky and other worldwide luxury class hotels owned by the Republic of Bahrain which enforces its religious (Shariah) laws of
discrimination with cruel and unusual punishment against homosexuality, lesbianism and transexuality.
He is also married to Salma Hayek, one of our most socially committed, feminist actors. Kering’s privileged position is a visible asset in standing up and out for women’s equality. And in today’s world of social networking, the nature of
“advertising” is changing drastically. Attaching companies’ logos to every event and every item is often crassly “in your face”. (I won’t go into FIFA
here). To quote one of my favorite brands, Bottega Veneta, also one of the Kering Group: “When your own initials are enough”, then you can attach value to
more than a brand name product.
By attaching the name Kering to issues that matter on the level of humane well-being, the luxury products of Kering are enhanced by a benevolence for those
who buy them or want to buy them. Caring people today are more consciously allying themselves with products which support humane causes for well-being
rather than going for brand-names announcing their ability to pay high prices for things. I would prefer to buy Puma than a sports shoe whose company
flaunts humane labor laws for example.
This trend in fact was recently elaborated upon by Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, owner of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels who warned of the
damage the luxury goods industry faces from growing wealth inequality and resentment among the have-nots of those who flaunt luxury watches and jewellery.
Read more about this side of the discussion in the Financial Times
reporting from the FT Business of Luxury Summit in Monaco as Rupert discussed his fear that artificial intelligence will kill jobs. At the same time he
appealed to Kering and LVMH to join the online retailer being created by the merger of Yoox of Italy and Richemont’s Net-a-Porter in order to increase
their 6% market share online to reach its 32% share now held through branded stores.
Today’s ubiquitous commercial opportunism takes a break at the great cultural event taking place every year at Cannes. And so, let us move on to the
content of Kering’s Women in Motion.
The series opened with a Presidential Dinner:
Presidential Dinner honored Jane Fonda, Olivia de Haviland, the first female Jury Head in Cannes 50 years ago and Megan Ellison of Annapurna
Olivia de Haviland
was one of the most influential women of the world of cinema. What became known as the “de Havilland decision” was a court ruling in the 1940s that studios
could no longer treat their performers as mere cattle. She and Joan Fontaine are the first sisters
to win Oscars and the first ones to be Oscar-nominated in the same year. In 1965, she became the first female president of the jury at the Cannes Film
The first Women in Motion opening conference featured Isabella Rossellini, this year’s
President of the Jury for Un Certain Regard. She spoke with French producer Claudie Ossard about Female Discrimination in Media. That was a very closed
affair as was the exclusive and star-studded Presidential Dinner.
Other speakers in the series included:
Claire Denis with her guests Chinese female director and producer from La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde, Isabelle Huppert with Coen
Brothers’ Sylvie Pialat moderated by Le Figaro’s François Aubel; Rebecca Zlotowski speaking about Femininity/Masculinity, in collaboration with Le Deuxième
Regard, Golshifteh Farahani, Agnès Varda, Salma Hayek Pinault, Frnaces McDermond and Thierry Frémaux
Some portions were covered by my colleagues at Indiewire.
Women in Hollywood’s Laura Berger
Erin Grover’s coverage of the Roundtable Discussion on Gender Equality and Rape.
How can cinema help improve women’s rights? Cinema as a platform to raise awareness about women’s causes has examples. On the roundtable are Inbal Lessner, producer and editor, and Linor Abargil, Miss World 1998, rape
survivor, and activist (“Brave Miss World”) Leslee Udwin, director, producer and actress (“India’s Daughter”) Deniz Gamze, director and actress (“ Mustang”) The discussion was moderated by Eric Garandeau, former
president of Centre National du Cinéma (France’s national film board).
o “Brave Miss World” (2013) sold internationally by Cinephil. At 18, Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil
was violently raped in Milan, Italy, and won the Miss World crown only six weeks later. The Emmy nominated documentary “Brave Miss World” follows her fight
for justice and journey to encourage survivors globally to speak out about rape, from South Africa to Hollywood’s living rooms, to U.S. college campuses.
When her serial rapist becomes eligible for parole, Linor has to track down his previous victims in order to help keep him behind bars.
o “India’s Daughter” (2015) is the story of the short life, and brutal
gang rape and murder in Delhi in December 2012, of an exceptional and inspiring young woman. The rape of the 23 year old medical student and her death
sparked unprecedented protests and riots throughout India and led to the first glimmers of a change of mind-set. The film examines the society and values
which spawn such violent acts, and makes an optimistic and impassioned plea for change.
o “Mustang”(2015) sold internationally by Kinology, is a French-Turkish movie to be released in 2015 that
tells the story of a family of five teenage sisters in a small Turkish village. The film highlights their fight to break free from social constraints and
sexual taboo. It screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
You can watch all the speakers live on The Kering Group videos here: https://vimeo.com/keringgroup/videos
The Kering Foundation combats violence against women. In line with the Group’s new identity and to enhance its impact internationally, the Foundation has
refocused its actions on three geographic areas and prioritizes one cause in each:
- Sexual violence in the Americas (United-States, Brazil and Argentina)
- Harmful traditional practices in Western Europe (France, Italy and United-Kingdom)
- Domestic violence in Asia (China)
The Foundation structures its action around 3 key pillars:
- Supporting local and international NGOs
- Awarding Social Entrepreneurs (Social Entrepreneurs Awards)
- Organizing awareness campaigns
Launched in 2009, the Kering Corporate Foundation combats Violence against Women. It supports NGOs and social entrepreneurs, helps raise awareness on
Violence against Women and encourages employee involvement in the Americas, Western Europe and Asia. More than 140,000 women have benefited from the
Foundation’s support since its inception.
For more information: www.keringfoundation.org @KeringForWomen
Follow the next two Women in Motion presentations on SydneysBuzz.