Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux has signed a pledge vowing to increase transparency and promote gender parity at the film event (via The Wrap). The pledge, dubbed the “Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals,” was signed May 14 during an Cannes event hosted by 5050×2020, the French women’s group behind the red carpet protest for gender equality earlier in the festival.
Joining Fremaux in signing the pledge was Director’s Fortnight director Paolo Moretti and Critics’ Week director Charles Tesson, both of whom made promises to improve gender equality in Cannes’ biggest sidebars. Cannes Film Festival president Pierre Lescure was in attendance at the signing, as was this year’s high-profile female jury members Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux, and Ava DuVernay.
“When we have a struggle and that struggle is taken up by someone, that is a victory. It’s about uniting not dividing,” Blanchett said. “We are happy that Thierry Fremaux is such a strong supporter. Without Thierry Fremaux saying yes to the pledge, without saying yes to the stairs we wouldn’t be here. If he’s part of the problem, he is part of the solution as well.”
“It is fundamental for the festival to be part of this,” added Seydoux.
Fermaux promised the festival “will be more engaged” when it comes to creating more opportunities for gender equality. According to ScreenDaily, the pledge calls for Cannes to push for parity on their executive boards, compile statistics on the gender of the filmmakers and key crew members for all films submitted to the festival, and increase selection transparency by making the names of selection committee members public.
As 5050×2020 made note prior to the red carpet protest on May 13, only 82 films directed by women have competed for the Palme d’Or in Cannes’ 71-year history. Male directors have contributed to 1,645 films. The 2018 festival has 21 directors in competition but only three are women: Eve Husson (“Girls of the Sun”), Nadine Labaki (“Capernaum”), and Alice Rohrwacher (“Lazarro Felice”).