Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay and Cate Blanchett walk the red carpet in protest of the lack of female filmmakers honored throughout the history of the festival at the screening of "Girls Of The Sun (Les Filles Du Soleil)" during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2018 in Cannes, France. Only 82 films in competition in the official selection have been directed by women since the inception of the Cannes Film Festival whereas 1,645 films in the past 71 years have been directed by men. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Director Ava DuVernay and actress Salma Hayek were among 82 women who stood together in protest on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival on May 12.
E! News reported that Hayek and DuVernay, as well as actors Cate Blanchett and Kristen Stewart and director Patty Jenkins, among other industry women, walked together down the carpet in Cannes, France. Ultimately standing on the stairs, they read a statement in protest of the lack of female filmmakers recognized in the 71-year-history of the film festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“On these steps today stand 82 women representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946,” Blanchett said in a statement read with director Agnès Varda. “In the same period 1688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs. In the 71 years of this world-renowned festival there have been 12 female heads of its juries. The prestigious Palme d’Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors — too numerous to mention by name — but only two women — Jane Campion (director of ‘The Piano’), who is with us in spirit, and Agnès Varda who stands with us today.
“These facts are stark and undeniable. Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise. As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress. We are writers, producers, directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents and all involved in the cinematic arts. We stand in solidarity with women of all industries.”
THR reported that the women then read a list of demands, which included calling for the industry to uphold laws of equal pay for equal work, provide transparency among executives, a safe work environment, diverse workplaces and representation in front of and behind the camera.
“We acknowledge all of the women and men who are standing for change,” they said. “The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb.”