Cannes Leaders Adopt Gender Equality Pledge

The ranks included a battalion of Oscar winners from Helen Mirren and Marion Cotillard to United States blockbuster directors Ava DuVernay and Patty Jenkins who made "Wonder Woman".

Cate Blanchett has led a protest on the red carpet at the Cannes film festival.

The new pledge, dubbed the "Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals", was created by 5050x2020, the French group behind Saturday's women's march on the steps of the Palais, aims to sign on other festivals. Male directors have contributed to 1,645 films.

Zlotowski was referring to the protest held Saturday night on the steps of the Palais, when 82 women stood in silence to call attention to the low number of women who have ever been in official competition.

The pledge will be signed by Thierry Frémaux, the general delegate of the Cannes Festival, Edouard Waintrop, the artistic director of Director's Fortnight, and Charles Tesson, the artistic director of Critic's week.

"The Indian Pavilion has lots of importance as it is a tool to help connect worldwide film community and Europe with the Indian industry", said Mr. Jerome Paillard, Executive Director, Marche Du Film Festival, and Cannes Film Market. "We must question our history and our habits". Only one female director, Jane Campion, has won the festival's top award, the Palme d'Or.

Once these guidelines are implemented, the festival should organically see a sharp uptick in films directed by women.

Its key commitments include the compilation of statistics to record the gender of the filmmakers and key crew of all submissions.

The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing, with swarms of A-List celebrities taking to the red carpet on the French Riviera, to celebrate the 71st annual event. Studies have shown that women directed 11 percent of the 250 most popular movies at the USA and Canada box office in 2017 - a figure only slightly above the same metric 20 years ago.

India Pavilion at the on-going Cannes Film Festival that inaugurated two days before is treating to all Indian and Indian movie lovers.

After the signing, filmmaker Rebecca Zlotowski noted it was Blanchett's birthday, and attendees serenaded the actress with a rendition of "Happy Birthday".

Vanessa Coleman

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