As the audience was waiting on Saturday for the premiere of Eva Husson’s new feature film Girls of the Sun, a group of 82 female film workers from different parts of the world walked the red carpet leading to the Grand Theatre Lumiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
The protest called for “a safe workplace,” a demand that has been constantly repeated following allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein last year.
Girls of the Sun stars Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, who plays a Kurdish female fighter who commands a battalion of entirely female soldiers.
Husson is one of three female filmmakers out of the 21 directors in competition for the Palme d’Or this year. The other two are Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum, and Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro. Both are set to premiere next week.
Hollywood female actresses also participated, including Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda, and Salma Hayek, who climbed the steps of the Palais des Festivals to support the “climb for women to the top of the industry.”
“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise,” said Blanchett, one of five female members of this year’s Cannes jury, adding, “we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination to change and progress.”
“The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all,” she said, and concluded, “let’s climb.”
Dina Emam, producer of the Egyptian film Yomeddine, also participated in the protest.
The 2018 competition also features highly political names. Iranian director Jafar Panahi and his Russian counterpart Kirill Serebrennikov are in the running for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize—even though neither can leave their home country.