To the jurors of the Cannes film festival…
Melissa Silverstein of Women and Hollywood is putting together a petition to the Cannes film festival jury. At Women in View we support this initiative and encourage everyone to do what they can to make this issue part of the upcoming festival. Contact Melissa directly at email@example.com to add your name to the petition.
Information on the petition follows:
There are not many times in the year when the film world comes center stage. This week we have one of those moments with the opening of the Cannes Film Festival tomorrow night which again for the second time in three years does not have a female directed film in the main competition. This moment gives us an opportunity to raise our voices in tandem about this issue.
Inspired by the French group La Barbe’s Manifesto, I put together the petition below which I hope you will sign.
We need to get as many high profile women and organizations in the entertainment business and the media business to sign this in the NEXT 24 HOURS. It is imperative that we have a large body of people as signatories to this in order to have a maximum impact and to also make it safe for people to sign. I feel that we need to have at least 50 organizations/people as signatories before we send it to the media and post it publicly.
I would also implore you to send this to any high profile women and women directors you know who you think will sign. The more the better! All signatures (please include your organization if you would like to be identified in that capacity) should be send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make your voices heard.
Women and Hollywood
To the Jurors of the Cannes Film Festival
You will spend the next 11 days watching 22 films that the programmers and leaders of the Cannes Film Festival deemed to be the worthiest of this year’s competition. You should be aware that half the world’s talent is being concealed from you.
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Festival Films including last year’s Oscar winner The Artist have gone on to have long and successful lives, and filmmakers’ careers have been launched on the Croisette. As we all know, the opportunities to have your film seen on a world stage is invaluable.
For the 2012 edition, as with the 2010 edition, there are NO FEMALE DIRECTED FILMS in competition, and in the 64 years of the Festival only one woman — Jane Campion — has been awarded the Palme D’Or.
Festival director Thierry Fremaux responded to the recent manifesto from La Barbe a French feminist action group which decried the lack of women by saying:
“I select work on the basis of it actual qualities. We would never agree to select a film that doesn’t deserve it on the basis it was made by a woman…There is no doubt that greater space needs to be given to women within cinema. But it’s not at Cannes and in the month of May that this question needs to be raised, but rather all year and everywhere.”
Mr. Fremaux is correct in stating that women’s rights must be addressed year round. Yet this issue must be specifically addressed at Cannes, for the future health and livelihood of the film industry. Filmgoers need to recognize that a Festival of this stature that does not include women’s voices and women’s perspectives in the competition is not a festival that accurately reflects a current world view.
We call for transparency about the selection process, and for a publicly stated commitment to diversity that includes female filmmakers in the future.
We, the undersigned, also encourage an industry-wide discussion about this problem, and we call on the leaders of all major film festivals and film entities worldwide to participate in and contribute to a dialogue about how we can, to quote Mr. Fremaux, “create a greater space for women within cinema.”
Melissa Silverstein, Women and Hollywood
Athena Film Festival
The Sisterhood is Global Institute
Julie Burton, The Women’s Media Center
Gayle Nachlis, Women in Film
Maria Maggenti, Screenwriter
Susanna White, Director
Gini Reticker, Director
Shana Feste, Director
Aviva Kempner, Director
Katherine Dieckmann, Writer/Director
Lynn Hershman Leeson, Hotwire Productions
Jaclyn Friedman, Women, Action & the Media!
Antonella Estevez, FEMCINE, Chile’s Women Film Festival
Sue Parrish, Sphinx Theatre Company
Sarah Walker, Writer/Director
Elena Rossini, No Country for Young Women
Jane C. Wagner, Naked Eye Productions Ltd.
Tina DiFeliciantonio, Naked Eye Productions Ltd.
Suhayla El-Bushra, screenwriter
Therese Shechter, Trixie Films
(list in formation)