Every year directors, producers, actors and actresses get all dressed up and show up to the south of France to present their projects to the world at the Cannes Film Festival. And in this year’s festival, along with notable films as BlacKKKlansman and Cold War, women stood up for themselves to be heard, continuing the action began by the Times Up movement in the U.S. at the beginning of this year.
Eighty-two. This is the number of female directors that have premiered their films in the 7 decades of the Cannes Film Festival. And shoulder to shoulder, 82 women of all backgrounds walked the red carpet of Cannes to be seen, to be heard and most importantly to let it be known that they were here to stay. Led by Director Ava Du Verney, French filmmaker Agnes Varda, and Actress Cate Blanchett, president of this year’s jury, these women walked in front of the bright lights of cameras at the premier of the Kurdish movie, Girls of the Sun, centered on an a group of female soldiers. Their protest, once again, a call for equality in the industry.
“Women are not a minority in the world, and yet our industry says the opposite. We want this to change.” – French Filmmaker, Agnes Varda
Continuing the call for action Black French actresses, led by Aïssa Maïga, dressed in black, metallic and white, walked the red carpet protesting the treatment of black actresses by the French film industry. These 16 women, all involved in the new book Noire N’est Pas Mon Metier (Black is not my job), walked in unison meeting the Burundian singer, a judge on the jury, Khadja Nin, with their heads held high and their fists up. They came to be seen and to be heard, to show the reality of the treatment of black actresses, that they are ignored and continue to deal with lack of opportunities of roles that go beyond the stereotype. Not only do these women have to contend with the trappings of being women but they contend with the judgement of their skin color. But on that day and the years ahead, they say no more.
Women continue to move ahead, pushing the lines that surround them. No longer are they going to take being perceived as second class citizens because of their gender, because of the color of their skin. Occasions like Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globes will continue to be platforms that women within the film industry will use to be heard, to be seen, to be the catalyst for change.
 Valeriya Safronova, “Protest, Glamour and Drama: 11 Snapshots From the Cannes Red Carpet,” New York Times, May 18, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/style/cannes-cate-blanchett-thandie-newton-protest-fashion.html.
 Lynsey Chutel, “BLACK IS NOT MY JOB: Black actresses staged a red carpet protest at Cannes against racism in French cinema,” Quartz Africa, May 18, 2018, https://qz.com/1281730/cannes-2018-black-actresses-protest-racism-in-french-film-industry/.