The shadow of Harvey Weinstein, the film producer who has been accused of rape and sexual harassment by scores of women, still hovers over Hollywood and global film industry. In Cannes Film Festival 2018, the jury is presided over by actor Cate Blanchett, who opened the festival with a call for equality and decried the lack of female filmmakers. At women’s march on the steps of Palais, the venue of the festival, she gave an emotional speech with 82 women, indicating the 82 female filmmakers who have climbed the steps of Palais. Yes, in the history of Cannes Film Festival, only 82 women directors have been allowed in the festival’s central theatre.
She said, “Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise. As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress. We are writers, producers, directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents and all involved in the cinematic arts. And we stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.”
Cate Blanchett was flanked by Ava DuVernay, Salma Hayek, Kristen Stewart among others. Patty Jenkins and Marion Cotillard were also in attendance. Blanchett next talked about the need for parity at workplaces and the expectations women have with the governments and society. She said, “We expect our institutions to actively provide parity and transparency in their executive bodies and provide safe environments in which to work. We expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live. A world that allows all of us in front and behind the camera, all of us, to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues.”
Hollywood was buffeted by accusations of rape and sexual misconduct against some of the most prominent personalities of showbiz like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. These allegations launched the Me Too and Time’s Up movements that asked for gender equality and an end to discrimination at workplaces.