Gender Inequality at the Cannes Film Festival

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock (9669063r) Actresses take part in the #metoo #timesup movement 'Girls of the Sun' premiere, 71st Cannes Film Festival, France - 12 May 2018

In 2018, while the cinema world was shocked by the Weinstein case, the Cannes film festival 2018 has been the center of a lot of questions concerning gender inequalities in the industry.

As the Cannes festival approaches, I decided to study the issue of parity in this famous festival. The Cannes film festival is an international annual film competition held in France in the city of Cannes, and it’s one of the most known and recognized cinema competition.

However, the numbers concerning the place of women directors in the festival are alarming.

From 1946 to 2018 only 82 films were directed by women and have been selected in competitions, including 7 in mixed production, out of 1727 films.

We can also note that among the filmmakers whose film has received one of the highest distinctions Cannes (in recent years by the Palme d’Or, the Grand Prix and the Jury Prize), 11 out of 268 were women, in other words, 4% of them were women.

More precisely, since 2018, 1% of the Palme d’Or prize was attributed to women (1 movie out of 95) and 4% of the Grand Prix (3 out of 74 movies).

According to a study led by the French National Center for Cinematography and Moving Image even if the number of movies directed by women increases, their salaries remains 42% lower than those of their colleagues and their budgets are more limited (3.5 million euros on average, against 4.7 million for men, in 2015).

In addition, the festival has also yet to have a female head. In 2018,  The general Delegate is Thierry Frémaux for 17 years. But when we also look at other Cannes selections we realize that they are also led by men. Indeed “the week of criticism” by Charles Tesson since 2012, and Edouard Waintrop held the position of General Delegate of “Director of Director’s Fortnight” since 2011.

When it comes to the president of the Jury, only 12 of 71 presidents of the jury have been women, in other words, 17%.

As an answer to all of these, The Cannes Film Festival has signed the 14 may 2018  a charter proposed by the “50×50 by 2020” association to promote gender parity in festivals after 2 days before 82 women had made a strong demonstration by posing in the famous red carpet stairs all together to denounce salary inequality in the industry for the gala screening of Eva Husson’s film, “Les Filles du Soleil”. A symbolic number as since the beginning of the festival Directors, actresses, writers, technicians, producers, distributors, exporters or agents were present. Thus, we can note the presence of The jury members of the competition, Khadja Nin, Lea Seydoux, Cate Blanchett, Ava Duvernay and Kristen Stewart among them.

The charter states that the Cannes film festival will record the gender of the cast and crew of all films submitted, work towards gender parity on the Cannes board, and publicize the names of the selection committee members as it was time for Cannes to change and go towards a more equal future.