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by Nigel M Smith
May 14, 2014 9:59 AM
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Cannes Jury President Jane Campion Calls Out the 'Inherent Sexism' in the Film Industry

Jane Campion and her female Cannes jury members Cannes Film Festival

Jane Campion is the only female director to have ever won the Cannes Film Festival's most prestigious prize, the Palme d'Or (for 1993's "The Piano"). The prize is an honor she clearly holds in great esteem, having agreed to head this year's jury and having presided over the shorts jury in 2013. Still, the distinction is one that bothers her. When the moderator at today's Cannes jury press conference addressed Campion as "Lady Palme," the filmmaker appeared visibly uncomfortable.

Campion elaborated on her grimace midway through the conference in this key quote, during which she called out the "inherent sexism in the industry." Read it in full below:

"... There is some inherent sexism in the industry. Thierry Frémaux told us that us only seven percent, out of the 1,800 films submitted to the Cannes Film Festival, were directed by women. He was proud to say that we had 20 percent in all of the programs. Nevertheless, it feels very undemocratic, and women do notice. Time and time again we don't get our share of representation. Excuse me gentlemen, but the guys seem to eat all the cake. It's not that I resent the male filmmakers. I love all of them. But there is something that women are thinking of doing that we don't get to know enough about. It's always a surprise when a woman filmmaker does come about."


  • ArtsBeatLA | July 15, 2014 3:03 PMReply

    "The Piano" is a wonderful film! I think it's important to note that while Jane Campion is the only woman ever to have been awarded the prestigious Palme d'Or prize at Cannes, she actually *shared* the prize that year (1993) with co-winner Chen Kaige, who also won for Farewell My Concubine (another magnificent movie). I remember this well as I was there.

  • Bernhardt | May 15, 2014 5:23 AMReply

    In this industry, being a woman has the inevitable Ginger Rogers feeling. Dancing backwards and in heels, but they will still praise Astaire.

    Well, that if you get the lucky chance to dance. Most of us don't.

  • suchita bhhatia | May 15, 2014 12:30 AMReply

    Absolutely!! this needs to be spoken about!!!

  • suchita bhhatia | May 15, 2014 12:29 AMReply

    Absolutely!! this needs to be spoken about!!!

  • suchita bhhatia | May 15, 2014 12:28 AMReply

    Absolutely!! this needs to be spoken about!!!

  • suchita bhhatia | May 15, 2014 12:27 AMReply

    Absolutely!! this needs to be spoken about!!!

  • So if your a woman... | May 14, 2014 4:34 PMReply

    ...and you make a film, your chances are better at getting into Cannes?

  • lagn | May 14, 2014 12:25 PMReply

    So a 7% bracket of the 100% of films being sent for Cannes consideration were women based? Hmm. I don't really see an inherent sexism in there anywhere. I do, however, see a woman who despite proclaiming her intentions does actually resent male directors.

  • lagn | May 15, 2014 6:02 AM

    To M., and...Xavier Dolan? I sent my film to Cannes this year while whole heartedly knowing it would be rejected, which it eventually was. It had no producer whatsoever and basically no script. So there is absolutely no barrier in the opportunity to send your film. You just go on their website and fill out the bullshit and send them a hundred bucks. If you can do that, then you are not oppressed by the system.

    M. You are making excuses for women, in general. It's kind of insulting if you think about it.

  • Xavier Dolan | May 14, 2014 4:27 PM

    How exactly do you not see it? Have you tried with your eyes opened?

  • M. | May 14, 2014 1:10 PM

    I don't think women don't send their films to Cannes because they don't want to. It's more a matter of not enough producers supporting women directors. Go check out all the studies about the inequality of women working in the industry. Again, it's not that they are not interested. I have given lectures at film schools and many of the students are females.