Nandita Das, Salma Hayek join 80 others in protest against lack of female representation at Cannes
Indian filmmaker Nandita Das and her Manto actor Rasika Duggal joined Hollywood actresses Salma Hayek, Jane Fonda, Kirsten Stewart and Ava DuVernay in a protest on the Cannes 2018 red carpet protest. The women from the film industry protested the lack of female representation at the 71st Cannes Film Festival because it allows only five percent representation under the official selection in competition.
The initiative has been taken up by French gender equality movement 5050x2020 that aims to highlight the hurdles that women have to cross to be able to climb up the professional and social ladder in the film industry. The silent protest with 82 women walked down the red carpet before stopping halfway up the steps to the Palais des Festivals, where the events are hosted. The protest ended with Cate Blanchett along with veteran documentary filmmaker reading a collective statement from the group which highlighted the need for institutions to provide safer working conditions for women, and for governments to uphold equal pay laws.
The statement went on to read that women are a minority in the world and yet the current state of the industry says otherwise. It also went on to state that all the women from the fraternity were standing as a symbol of determination and progress, which they will all climb together. Interestingly, the women said that the number of women at the protest was the number of them represented at the festival, in all of its history. While in the same period, 1,645 male directors have been chosen, Jane Compton is the only one to have won the festival’s top prize, Palme D’Or.
At Cannes 2018, there are only three women filmmakers out of a total 21, which led to a protest and festival director Thierry Fremaux said that the festival would look to select more films directed by female filmmakers in the future.