Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux was queried this morning over 2018 being the first edition in recent memory that wouldn’t feature Harvey Weinstein in person. Frémaux admitted that the “earthquake” that hit back in October when allegations of sexual harassment began to pour out meant “the world will never be the same again, the Cannes Film Festival either.”
The earthquake described by Frémaux has led the festival to do some self-examining of its own he said, “We will discuss our own practices with the festival team.” While the festival’s ranks are predominantly female he disclosed that this year the festival balanced up the male-female split on the selection committee, something he said he was asked about last year by directors Agnès Varda and Maren Ade and actress Jessica Chastain. “We took care to make it equal,” he commented.
He was responding to a broader question about the presence of female directors in the lineup in the context of the Times Up movement. There are three women in competition: Nadine Labaki, Alice Rohrwacher and Eva Husson, with more possibly joining. “A differentiation should be made between female filmmakers and Time’s Up,” he said. “The question of a quota in no case concerns the artistic selection of a festival. Films are chosen for their quality.” Frémaux gets this question every year and he maintains, “There will never be a selection made by positive discrimination.”
However, he did go on to allow that, “When we are hesitating between films, yes we have to pay attention to a certain balance.” Frémaux also disclosed that “a certain number of organizations” will be in Cannes to talk about workplace equality. Deadline knows that some of the leading voices in this space have been invited to take part in panels. A good thing for a festival which two years ago became embroiled in the heelgate saga.
Referring to Jane Campion, the sole female winner of Cannes’ top prize, he added, “Like everyone, we deplore that there’s only one woman who has won the Palme d’Or.” While Cannes continues to see few women directors in main competition, two of this year’s juries are at least headed by women: Cate Blanchett heads the competition jury while Ursula Meier oversees the Camera d’Or judges.