European & International News

Cannes film festival snubs women directors

[Brussels, 22 May 2012] The EWL lobbies for equal voices in the media but unfortunately this is not what this year’s film festival in Cannes is promoting. On 27 May 27 the Palme d’Or will be awarded in Cannes and out of the 22 directors nominated for this prestigious prize there is not one single woman. The British film director and film festival jury member Andrea Arnold has dismissed this as sexist. She states that it is a “great disappointment, because obviously women are half of the population and have voices and things to say about life and the world that probably would be good for us all to hear”. [1]

Since its introduction in 1955, the Palme d’Or has only once been awarded to a woman director: Jane Campion received the prize in 1993 for her film“The Piano”. In addition, there has only been one women receiving a Best Director Oscar award out of the 85 that have been merited.

The film festival in Cannes has failed to live up to the UN’s Millenium Development Goal number 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. Further, it is stated in the Beijing Declaration that “opportunities should be sought to enhance the role of the media in providing a more balanced and realistic portrayal of women, including in leadership positions.” This is essential and should be taken into consideration when determining the 22 nominees for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize.

A group of French female filmmakers wrote a provocative letter regarding the lack of female film directors nominated, highlighting the sexual stereotyping of women in the film business by noting that “Men love their women to have depth, but only when it comes to their cleavages.”

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