The 2018 Cannes Film Festival was held during the period of Hollywood baron Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal and #MeToo movement. The organizers aimed to improve gender parity at the Cannes film festival, and the objective was also expected to be adopted by other leading film festivals. According to the charter, the Cannes Film Festival promised to record the gender of all the contributions to the submitted films, unveil the members of the selection committee and work together to fight for the gender equality on the cannes film festival board.
However, this gender parity movement was suspended from the promise, which confirmed the long-held position from festival director Thierry Frémaux that the selections should only be grounded on “artistic merit”. The organizers from Cannes Film Festival signed a clause to promise more data transparency in film selection process, and to promote more gender equality, in response to the 5050×2020 equality movement in France as well as to women activist, including this year’s festival jury Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart and Ava DuVernay from the film industry (The Guardian 2018).
Hollywood celebrities led a women’s march for protesting gender inequality at Cannes red carpet.
The film industry has become a battleground for feminism to preach the visibility beyond the political propaganda that has shaped gender parity movement. It is also pivotal to understand the urgency of gender parity and the power of revitalized feminist arsenal with the statistic that illustrates the absence of women and gender discrimination in the film industry.
It is clear to see that under the intersecting systems of gatekeeping, female directors helmed less than 20% of all screened new release movies from November 2012 to June 2015. In Hollywood, only 7% of the top 250 movies were directed by women, and the worse part is that not all of these could be seen by audiences in the cinemas. Furthermore, filmmaker gender is discriminated and distributed unevenly across the world. In Great Britain and South America, only over 2% of the screened films were directed by females, while in Asia and North America, the situation is slightly improved with just under 3% of screenings by women directors (Mashable Australia 2018).
The strategy of improving gender parity is beyond “just add women directors and stir”. It is urgent to educate the public about the value of gender equality and to reshape the white male dominant film industry. Increase women’s participation will also prompt the glocal democratizing development. Festivals such as Cannes has made a good start for organizing and amplifying global distribution opportunities for female filmmakers, and other international film festivals such as Venice, Berlin and Sundance will also adopt the transparency charter to lead the film industry towards a virtuous circle.
The Guardian 2018, Cannes of worms: true gender equality in film will take more than ‘just add women’, viewed 12 September 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/22/cannes-of-worms-true-gender-equality-in-film-will-take-more-than-just-add-women
Mashable Australia 2018, 82 women walked this year’s Cannes red carpet in protest, calling for gender equality in the film industry, viewed 12 September 2018, https://mashable.com/2018/05/14/82-women-march-cannes-gender-equality-film-industry/#3UcUQ9tCOiqZ