Over the weekend at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, 82 women gathered on the red carpet steps to demand equal rights. Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Selma Hayek, Jane Fonda and more took part in the demonstration, which highlighted the lack of women selected for the prominent festival over the years.
In the competition’s 71-year history, only 82 female directors have featured – compared to 1,688 male directors. The Cannes Time’s Up movement illuminated this injustice both visually and vocally, when Blanchett made a powerful speech about the importance of equal rights. “Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,” she said.
“The prestigious Palme d’Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors, too numerous to mention by name, but only two female directors,” she pointed out. “As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and our commitment to progress. We are writers, we are producers, we are directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents, and all of us are involved in the cinematic arts. And we stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.”
As the first Cannes Film Festival since Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct was exposed, the protest showed that the movement will not lose momentum and that change is no longer simply an option. By placing the spotlight on women in film, it made the need for equality in the workplace the centre of this particular moment, which is part of the much larger Time’s Up movement.
Additionally, an anti-harassment hotline has been created for the 2018 festival.