The Cannes Film Festival is usually filled with chatter about the winning work and those impressive evening gowns the celebs wear. Comments following the 2018 version are proving more substantial than usual, as diversity was front and foremost at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
Having taken place from 8 to 19 May 2018, there have been accolades aplenty for Africa at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with the following five SA films selected to take part in this year’s Festival: The following five South African films will be included in the official programme: Rafiki; The Harvesters/Die Stropers; Miles from Nowhere; The Colour of the Skull; and Inxeba/The Wound.
SA’s own Daniel Moleka – owner of RedThread Apparel X and first-year student at Fedisa Fashion Design School in Cape Town – also had the chance to showcase his third collection, 'Immortal', at the first Cannes' Fashion Street Show.
There’s further recognition of African artistry behind the lens from African residency initiative Realness. Now in its third year, it has fostered cinematic voices from 12 countries on the continent and gives a new generation of filmmakers the opportunity to cultivate their talent as authentic voices in African cinema.
In addition, Little White Lies says the Cannes Film Festival or CFF announced its most diverse lineup ever for 2018, with 18 directors representing Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, France, America and Russia making the cut this time around, as well as a female-strong jury.
Diversity in film
With diversity a core focus for the year, another highlight has been the expansion of CFF’s annual #DiversityDay to this year include the first-ever ‘Global Women of Color in Film Day’ on 16 May.
Digital Journal explains that the three-part annual global industry event is intended to focus on bridging the cultural and socio-economic gaps present at the Festival.
The ultimate goal is to promote the work and presence of diverse filmmakers from across the globe, telling stories specific to age, gender, physical ability, race, religion and sexual orientation for global audiences at the Cannes Film Festival, as all films aren't chosen as Festival de Cannes official selections.Planned by Yolonda Brinkley, Beyond Borders: Diversity in Cannes creator has been running the event since 2010, and was inspired by “marginalised populations struggling to have their voices heard and their stories told.” And so, the independent filmmaker movement promoting inclusion at the world's most prestigious film event was born.
It's never been more relevant. especially “in response to the global cry of women screaming #TimesUp and #MeToo”, with additional support from the likes of Viola Davis' Juvee Productions.
Now in its eighth year, Brinkley’s “Beyond Borders: Diversity in Cannes” or #DiversityDay has added the first ever “Global Women of Color in Film Day” at the Cannes Film Festival.
Digital Journal explains that Brinkley showcased films by women of colour including Chris Beal, India McGee, Leah Patterson, Anna Carvalho, Meleisha Edwards, Gisela Savdie and Pin-jung Chen. In commemoration of this initiative, women of colour in film at Cannes and those who support them were encouraged to wear any combination of black, yellow or white with a yellow flower in their hair.Brinkley is quoted as stating that diversity in Cannes is committed to the fight for inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival and providing multiple platforms for underrepresented filmmakers to share their stories at the 71st Cannes Film Festival is their contribution to the cause. #CannesYouSeeUs?"
A+ adds that Brinkley’s independent event comes at a time where “the ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same.”Deadline adds that the Cannes Film Festival also signed “concrete, strong commitments” around diversity in partnering with a united positive action, initiated by the ‘50/50 By 2020’ collective and Time’s Up.
This move comes after the Festival was berated for the lack of women among its lineup, with only three women directors out of 21 in the main competition this year and Spike Lee the first black filmmaker with a movie in Competition in the past four years.
Variety adds that only one film directed by a woman has ever received the prestigious Palme d'Or award - Jane Campion in 1993 for The Piano. Last year, Sofia Coppola also became the first woman in more than 50 years to win the Best Director award. Meanwhile, Dazed Digital pointed out last year that not a single film by a black director has won the Palme d'Or or the Best Director prize at the festival. Ever. #TimesUp.
The symbolic 82
To show that the status quo needs a further shake-up, a symbolic “women’s march” took place at the CFF on Saturday, with actress and competition jury president Cate Blanchett giving a #TimesUp reading.Deadline says that 82 women from the industry stopped halfway when on the red carpet as a symbolic gesture, to represent the 82 films directed by women and selected in Competition since the first ever edition of the festival.The Festival also introduced a harassment hotline this year, so it seems #TimesUp. Follow the Diversity in Cannes movement on Twitter and the #CannesYouSeeUs?" hashtag for the latest updates.