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by Tiffany Pritchard
CANNES – Given the news events of the last year, it’s no surprise that the deficit of women and people from ethnic, disabled, and LGBT backgrounds working within the film industry has been a focus at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. On a positive note, practical action has been a key theme here, with many female industry figures expressing a sigh of relief that change is slowly happening across the various sectors of the film industry. Still, this is not without considerable effort.
Festival - Harassment - Hotline - Place - Partnership
To start the festival, an anti-sexual harassment hotline was put in place in partnership with the French ministry of gender equality to support both workers at the festival and accredited attendees in the event sexual misconduct occurred. While I didn’t hear of anyone utilizing the service that operated daily from 9am – 2pm, The Guardian reported that several calls a day were made to the number.
On Saturday, Cate Blanchett led an impressive group of 82 women — one representing each of the 82 female directors whose films have been selected as part of the official competition in Cannes’s 71-year history — up the Palais’ steps to protest against the much larger figure of 1,866 men whose films have screened in competition. Several of the women that participated were Salma Hayek, who is expected to reprise her role in The Hitman’s Bodyguard sequel that is being touted in the market; Kristen Stewart and Ava Duvernay who are on the jury with Blanchett; Marion Cotillard, who stars in Vanessa Filho’s Un Certain Regard entry Angel Face; Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins; and honorary Academy Award-winner Agnes Varda. The next day Hayek built further buzz around the issue of equality, saying at the festival that male movie stars would have to take pay cuts if they were serious...
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