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“I am woman, hear me roar,” sang Helen Reddy in 1975. Forty-one years later, in the film business, we’re still hearing quite a lot of that roar. But does it sound different in 2016?
Check the cinema: that’s what I do. And my conclusion is, yes, the tenor of today’s calls by women for sustainable creative power-roles do sound different. More than a roar, there is a demand for innovation, new strategies, broader discussion, and more diverse courses of action. No less than Cannes Film Festival took up the challenge – in 2015, for only the second time in its sixty-eight years, Cannes opened with a film directed by a woman: Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall (which, I’m delighted to say, is also featured at our Festival this year).
Action is at the heart of our new Google-sponsored Seminar Series on gender and racial gaps in film and technology. An incredible group of women of varied background and experience will be sharing both their real-world successes and their thoughts on what still needs to happen to cultivate a true sense of “talent-first” in the film business culture of tomorrow.
I’m proud that forty-six of the 129 films that found their way into the Festival’s official selection this year were directed or co-directed by women—the highest percentage to date. I’m equally proud of the amazing work done by artists of my own gender, men who push cinema forward with their own thrilling work in the art form. Quality and vision are our criteria, and quality and vision is what you will find in every selection of this year’s festival.
I dedicate this year to the determined women and men of the Festival team, who create magic and invest sense of wonder in everything they do, and to the film artists who bring their work for us to enjoy, learn from, and discuss.