This week in Paris, women directors and others gathered for the 32nd edition of Films de Femmes where they lamented how hard it is to get distribution nowadays which seems to be a bigger issue than the gender issue. Little did they know that as they wrapped up their festival the Cannes Film Festival was about to release their competition lineup and not one of the those women (or any others) made the cut.
It’s been a day and I am still pissed abut this. It just feels like a big slap in the face and also feels really tone deaf. Today I am wondering, who picks the films? How big is the committee? How many women are on the committee? How do they find the films? There just seems that something is broken here that not a single female directed film (or two or three) is worthy of inclusion.
But I am heartened that film writers are also questioning this issue. ST VanAirsdale on Movieline asked: Where Are All the Women Directors in This Year’s Cannes Competition?
Disappointed? Sure. Surprised, though? Look at it this way: Since 2000, the Cannes Film Festival has screened 212 films in competition. Of those:
· Seventeen titles were directed by a total of 14 women.
· Two titles — Shrek and Persepolis — were co-directed by women.
· The last year to feature no women directors in competition was 2005 (and before that: 1999)
Anne Thompson added her own thoughts:
Notably, no women filmmakers made the competition, although several are repped in Un Certain Regard and special screenings (Sophie Fiennes) and presumably the upcoming announcement for Director’s Fortnight.
And Variety added: “And while the 2009 festival showcased work by Jane Campion, Andrea Arnold and Isabel Coixet, there is not a single female director to be found in this year’s competition.”
The Bird’s Eye View Film Festival weighed in on their blog:
I was genuinely quite startled as I continued to check through the list of names, but mostly saddened that such a significant festival on the film calendar lacks diversity to such a degree. So many female directors have told BEV that they hope Kathryn Bigelows win represents something of a ‘watershed’ and yet this list suggests otherwise.
Here’s the quote I gave to IndieWIRE for their roundup story
“The Cannes lineup revealed to me how little effect Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar win has had around the world,” reacted Melissa Silverstein from Women & Hollywood. “The fact that the most prestigious film festival in the world could release a competition lineup with not a single female director on the list is shameful.”
So while we are still lamenting the boys club of Cannes at least there are more voices as part of the conversation.
Cannes Watch: Penn, Binoche, Crowe, Gosling, Douglas, Watts Head for Croisette (Thompson on Hollywood)
Few Hollywood films in diverse Cannes (Variety)
Cannes Film Festival Announce Line-up lacking ladies (Birds Eye View)