Amy Villarejo, chair of Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts, and an expert on the history of film as well as feminist, gender and sexuality studies, comments on the jury announced today for the Cannes International Film Festival, which will be mostly female for the first time since 2009.

Villarejo says:

“It would be churlish to denounce the Festival's ambition toward gender parity: It's a great jury, with luminaries of global cinema.

“But would it be too much to ask for sustained and broad support for women directors, too?

“The Palme d'Or, which has been awarded only once to a woman in the history of Cannes – Jane Campion, the jury president for 2014, for ‘The Piano’ – represents a measure of success few women could dare to dream about, given the lack of fiscal and artistic support for women behind the camera. As a Sundance report on its women's initiative put it, ‘when industry leaders think director, they think male.’ Even a slight shift of the spending priorities at Cannes could put development monies into a lab to screen project for narratives directed by women. Why not now?”


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