How The Women Of Cannes Are Taking The Lead In Film

How The Women Of Cannes Are Taking The Lead In Film

With Cate Blanchett heading up this year’s Cannes jury, this is an important time for women in film. We recall the talented female stars who have made

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With Cate Blanchett heading up this year’s Cannes jury, this is an important time for women in film. We recall the talented female stars who have made themselves seen and heard at the festival.

In 2015 Cate Blanchett walked the red carpet with co-star Rooney Mara, at the premiere of Carol, a film directed by Todd Haynes, at the Cannes Film Festival. This year, Blanchett has become the twelfth woman to head the Cannes Film Festival jury, taking the mantle from the likes of Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman and fellow multi-award winning actress Isabelle Huppert in years past.

An actress and producer, Blanchett was called “…a rare and unique artist with talent and conviction,” by both the festival president Pierre Lescure and Thierry Fremaux, Cannes delegate general.

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In the wake of #Metoo and Time’s Up, Blanchett’s appointment comes at a time when the film industry is under more scrutiny than ever, and makes an important and very visible statement about the importance of female representation within film.

French director Eva Husson

This year sees a diverse and breathtakingly talented group of women being honoured for their work behind the camera across a variety of prestigious film awards. Having premiered two previous features at Cannes, this year Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher is competing with Happy As Lazzaro, a film about a man who travels through time.

The film boasts a number of women in its creative roles: it’s edited by Nelly Quettier, designed by Emita Frigato and its cinematographer is Hélène Louvart.

Fellow Cannes veteran Nadine Labaki is debuting drama Capernaum – the third film the Lebanese director will premiere at the festival, and co-written by Michelle Keserwany. With Cannes as her alma mater (Labaki graduated from the Cannes’ Résidence program and her film Caramel opened in Directors’ Fortnight in 2007) Labaki is a festival denizen.

Her second feature Where Do We Go Now? was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, where she later sat on the jury herself.

For French director Eva Husson, 2018 marks her Cannes festival debut with her second feature Girls of the Sun. Husson’s first feature, Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) explored complicated themes around teenagers, love, sex and reputation, while Girls of the Sun tells the story of a group of Kurdish freedom fighters, and stars Cannes best actress winner Emmanuelle Bercot.

Bercot is herself a filmmaker as well as an actress, and has won two prizes at Cannes for shorts Les Vacances and La Puce, while her 2015 film La Tête Haute (Standing Tall) landed the prestigious spot of opening the festival.

Emerging corners of the festival boast even more female representation. The Golden Camera, an award for the best first feature film across the entire official festival, has Swiss director Ursula Meier as its jury head. The Golden Camera has, since its first female winner in 1985, championed women filmmakers, with almost 20 women being awarded the coveted prize since its start in 1978.

Another section, Un Certain Regard features female directors in six of its 13 films, while the Cinéfondation selection, centered on film school submissions, has selected 12 female directors from an overall group of 22. There is diversity too, with Canadian-Mexican director Yulene Olaizola’s Mayan thriller Tragic Jungle, Israel’s Maya Dreifuss’s beauty queen policier Highway 65 and Haiti’s Guetty Felin’s family drama A Rooster on the Fire Escape all in contention.

Along with nominees and jury members, female movers and shakers of the film world will also be in attendance. Tanya Seghatchian and Ewa Puszczynska, producers of the Cannes Palme D’or competitor Cold War are festival regulars.

Also attending is Melissa Silverstein, founder of the Women and Hollywood website, who pow wows with heads of European film funds, along with Britain’s Birds’ Eye View, a female-focused film agency.

BBC Films, led by Rose Garnett and Eva Yates, features an all-female executive field. Sales agent Alison Thompson’s production company Cornerstone also brings a big slate that includes a new film by Gurinder Chadha, After The Wedding starring Julianne Moore.

While BFI chief executive officer Amanda Nevill, Tessa Ross (formerly Film4), Elizabeth Karlsen (Carol, Colette, On Chesil Beach), Rebecca O’Brien (I, Daniel Blake, You Were Never Really Here) and Alison Owen (The Other Boleyn Girl, Saving Mr. Banks, Tulip Fever) will also make their presence known at the festival.

Continuing the legacy of previous Cannes award winners including Palme D’or recipient Jane Campion and jury members that include everyone from Sophia Loren and Shirley Maclaine to Tilda Swinton, Uma Thurman, Jessica Chastain, and Nicole Kidman, the women in contention at this year’s Cannes festival showcase the important, varied and creative voices women add to the cinematic conversation – one that will grow in volume as the years pass and women make their voices convincingly heard.

A festival made of priceless moments

The glamorous Festival de Cannes is held from the 8-19 May – a fortnight of glitz, intrigue and drama, with 2018 marking Mastercard’s fourth year as an official partner.

Along with other partnerships with the Berlinale Film Festival International Film and Festival of La Biennale di Venezia, this relationship represents Mastercard’s commitment to creating and delivering priceless experiences for cardholders around the world.


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