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Cannes 2018: 82 Women Protest for Equality on the Red Carpet: ‘Let’s Climb!’

Cannes jury president Cate Blanchett spoke out for "workplaces [that] are diverse and equitable" both in front of, behind the camera, and beyond.

Eighty two film industry professionals stand on the steps of the Palais des Festivals to represent, what they describe as pervasive gender inequality in the film industry, at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, . Since the Cannes Festival was created, 82 films directed by women have been included in official competition, whilst 1,645 films directed by men were selected2018 50/50 2020, Cannes, France - 12 May 2018

Eighty two film industry professionals stand on the steps of the Palais des Festivals to represent, what they describe as pervasive gender inequality in the film industry, at the 71st international film festival, Cannes

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

On Saturday, 82 film industry women protested for equality at Cannes. “1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs,” said Cannes jury president Cate Blanchett on the red carpet of the Palais Saturday evening ahead of “Girls of the Sun,” directed by one of three women in the festival Competition, Eva Husson. “In the 71 years of this world-renowned film festival, there have been 12 female heads of the jury.”

She added that 71 male directors have won the Palme d’Or, with only two women, “The Piano” filmmaker Jane Campion (“who is with us in spirit”) and Agnes Varda, who stood beside Blanchett and read the same statement in French. “These facts are stark and undeniable.”

They were among a total of 82 women including Patty Jenkins, Marion Cotillard, and Alice Rohrwacher, and the other four women on the Cannes jury (Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux, and Burundian singer Khadja Nin). “Eighty-two women are on the steps today,” said Blanchett, “82 is the number of Cannes films made by women since 1966.” (Only four women have won best director or best script, including Sofia Coppola.)

“Women are not a minority in the world,” stated Blanchett and Varda. “Yet the current state of the industry states otherwise. As women we face our own unique challenges, yet we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of determination and a commitment to progress, we are writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, talent agents, distributors, and sales agents. All of us are involved in the cinematic arts. We stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.

She continued, “We expect our organizations to actively provide parity and transparency and a safe environment in which to work. We expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable, so they can best reflect the work in which we actually live, a world that allows all of us to in front and behind the camera, to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues. And we acknowledge all of the women and men around the world who are standing for change. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb!”

At which point, Blanchett and Varda led the 82 women up the Palais steps.

You can watch Blanchett’s speech below, thanks to Variety.

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