This week marks the beginning of the Cannes Film Festival in France, the premiere competition for international film and one of the largest industry events of the year.
The event has been questioned in recent months over the lack of female-directed films being presented in the competition, but the festival’s artistic director, Thierry Frémaux, is making some strides to promote gender equality in a notoriously gentleman-oriented and male-run industry. Although only three films in the running for the top award are directed by women, this year’s jury panel has tipped the scales past the 50/50 mark for gender equality on the jury. The head juror is Australian actress and director Cate Blanchett, and other jury members include American actress Kristen Stewart, French actress Lea Séydoux, and American director Ava DuVernay, as well as Burundian singer Khadja Nin.
The jury selection is even more intriguing because of the big names on this year’s list, particularly when compared with a lot of the relatively-niche directors presenting films this season. Aside from a buzzy new Spike Lee film and the release of the latest in the Star Wars franchise film, art film directors from Korea, Belgium, Kenya, and more will be present to showcase the best of their repertoires.