The issues of sexism and lack of diversity in the film industry have been brought out into the open over the past months in a way that these long-gestating problems haven’t before. There was much talk following the surprise Oscar snub “Selma” received in January, and more recently, figures like Carey Mulligan and Kristen Stewart have made very public statements about their views on the industry and the difficulties women face. Now, with the Cannes Film Festival just one day away, honcho Thierry Fremaux — who has often faced criticism for the lineup of the fest not being diverse enough — has weighed in on the topic.
“I think that every person, wherever he or she may be, must ensure that they contribute to the debate, and that debate is simple: cinema, just like society, needs diversity, and needs to promote new voices, new styles, new faces and so on,” he told Cineuropa. And for Fremaux, he makes the interesting observation that it all begins with financing. Until more varied sources of money are found, the same limited kinds of voices will continue to be promoted.
“Clearly, money and the fact that it is concentrated in one place are threatening independent film production and the emergence of new talents. But cinema as a whole will be in jeopardy if those who bring it to life do not stand together to protect its fundamental principles. From this point of view, while we have to show ourselves to be vigilant, I think that everyone agrees on the crux of the matter. Cannes is also a place where we encourage political debate on cinema,” he explained.
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And so, let the debate continue in our comments section. Does Fremaux have it right that new avenues for emerging and diverse voices need to be found? Can those at executive levels make a difference? Let us know below.