Actress Cate Blanchett who is one of the jury members of the Cannes Film Festival this year, has called for gender parity at the Cannes Film Festival, but accepts it “won’t happen overnight”.
The actress and chair of this year’s jury said she would “absolutely” like to see more female directors competing for the festival’s Palme d’Or award.
Yet she said coming to Cannes was “almost a gladiatorial sport” and it was important that film-makers were “ready” for the exposure.
Of the 21 films in competition this year, only three have female directors.
Blanchett, however, made the point that “a few years ago [in 2015], there were only two”.
At a press conference before the festival’s official opening, she also stressed that a director’s gender would have no bearing on how she and her fellow jurors assessed their films.
“It’s a level playing field,” she told journalists. “We’re all going into this process with a genuinely open mind.”
France’s Eva Husson, Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki and Italy’s Alice Rohrwacher are the three female directors in contention for the festival’s highest accolade.
“But they’re not there because of their gender,” Blanchett said. “They’re there because of the quality of their work.”
The continued gender imbalance in the competition line-up has been a major talking point in the run-up to this year’s festival.
“Would I like to see more women in competition? Absolutely,” Blanchett told journalists. “Do I expect and hope that’s going to happen in the future? I hope so.”