After an increased uptick in attention regarding a lack of female filmmaker-backed features debuting at the annual event, the Cannes Film Festival has announced this year’s full selection committee, which includes four prominent women from the world of film.
In addition to reaching parity among its committee members — something it has never been able to do among its film selections — Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Festival de Cannes, and Christian Jeune, Director of the Film Department and Deputy General Delegate, have appointed Stéphanie Lamome as Artistic Advisor of the Film Department. Lamome is already a member of the eight-person selection committee, and she now joins the official organizing team of the festival, while she will continue to officiate for the selection, with an eye towards young French cinema.
The 2018 competition lineup included new works from Nadine Labaki, Eva Husson, and Alice Rohrwacher. On average, the festival’s competition slate invites three to five female filmmakers each year, a number which has drawn constant criticism.
In 2016, artistic director Frémaux tried to pass off Cannes’ lack of female-directed films as a simple product of the industry lacking female filmmakers. At the time, he told Screen Daily, “Nine out of 49 of the filmmakers [at the festival] are women. That’s 20% of the selection. What percentage of filmmakers in the world are women? According to a recent report, it’s 7%. I’ve been saying this for four years now but what you see in Cannes is a consequence, not the cause. More needs to be done in the film schools, the universities and the production houses, to favour women, and then you would see results.”
At the 2018 festival, 82 film industry women protested for equality at the festival. The next day, Frémaux signed a gender parity pledge and promised the festival “will be more engaged” when it comes to creating more opportunities for gender equality. 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.
The list of the members of the Festival de Cannes selection committee for 2019 is as follows, with all biographies provided by the festival.
After studying Modern Literature at la Sorbonne, Virginie Apiou became a journalist for the written press. She also directs TV documentaries about cinema (Canal +, Warner, TCM for: Hitchcock – La Mort aux trousses ou Hitchcock – Le Crime était presque parfait, Les acteurs-réalisateurs, etc.) as well as reports for Arte (Max Ophuls, Gabin-Renoir, Abel Gance, David Cronenberg, Abbas Kiarostami, Lars von Trier).
Paul Grandsard, of Franco-American origin, worked as a translator before directing six short films between 1987 and 2006. In 1996, he became a programmer for the Premiers Plans festival in Angers before joining the Festival de Cannes in 1999. Since 2010, he has been a professional photographer, specialising in portrait and architectural photography.
After brief medical studies, Laurent Jacob became a trainee director and then second assistant to Claude Lelouch, Claude Sautet, Nadine Trintignant, Laurent Heynemann and Jean-Jacques Annaud. He then made montage films on the history of cinema for the Festival de Cannes (Le Cinéma dans les Yeux, Liberté, two series of Préludes). He was in charge of the Cinéfondation selection from 1998 to 2009.
After completing a literature foundation course (also known as Khâgne), Stéphanie Lamome, from 1997 to 2015, worked as a journalist, reporter, critic, head of department and then deputy editor-in-chief of Première magazine. She is an on-air programmer for Radio Festival, the official radio of Festival de Cannes, since 2017.
From 1986 to 2000, Eric Libiot was a radio host (Radio Beur), TV journalist (Ensemble aujourd’hui), freelance print journalist (7 à Paris, Marianne, Paris Match, Max, L’autre journal), reporter and deputy editor-in-chief of Première. In 2000, he became deputy editor-in-chief of Arts and Entertainment at L’Express magazine and culture editor-in-chief in 2016. That same year, he also became a columnist at France Inter (Grand bien vous fasse by Ali Rebeihi).
Doctor of Comparative Literature, exhibition curator, catalogue director, co-editor of the Larousse mondial du cinéma (2011) and the Dictionnaire mondial des mouvements artistiques et littéraires 1870-2010 (2012), contributor to the Encyclopedia Universalis, 1895 and film columnist for La Quinzaine littéraire (1993-2015), Lucien Logette is now editor-in-chief of the monthly Jeune Cinéma.
Journalist, critic and head of the cinema department at Télérama. Since 2016, Guillemette Odicino has been the producer of the summer show On s’fait des films at France Inter, where she is also a culture and cinema columnist. She also appears on the program Le Cercle on Canal + and Canal + Cinéma.
As a journalist, Marie Sauvion worked for a long time in the culture department of Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui en France, before taking over as editor-in-chief of the magazine Marie France until 2016. Now freelance, she is a columnist for Le Cercle on Canal +, producer on France Inter (Une bonne tasse d’été) and co-author of the documentary Cinéma par… Toledano et Nakache (Canal+, 2018).
This year’s festival will run May 14 – 25 in Cannes, France.