Cannes Film Festival has again tied its personal best number of four female filmmakers in its Competition program, matching 2019 and 2011. However, the percentage of women represented is smaller as the overall number of titles in the section is larger this year.
As unveiled today, four of the 24 movies in the 2021 Competition are helmed by women: Julia Ducournau’s Titane; Catherine Corsini’s La Fracture; Mia Hansen-Love’s Bergman Island; and Ildiko Enyedi’s The Story Of My Wife. That’s a little under 17% in total.
Comparing with 2019’s selection (2020 didn’t have a full Official Selection due to the physical fest being cancelled), the number of female directors was the same at four, but that was out of a total of 21 titles picked, which is 19%.
The wider Official Selection has 28 female filmmakers across its 64 titles (including one film that is co-directed by a man, Val, and not including the anthology film The Year Of The Everlasting Storm, which is an anthology picture majority directed by men).
That is a new high watermark for the festival, which had 14 total women directors in its Official Selection in 2019, 11 in 2018, 12 in 2017, nine in 2016, and six in 2015. That will be seen as an achievement for the fest, with the Un Certain Regard program looking particularly favorable in gender equality terms with seven female filmmakers across 18 pics. However, it should be noted that the overall Official Selection is significantly larger this year at 64 titles, in comparison with 47 in 2019, which skews the numbers to an extent.
During today’s presser, Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux said that the fest was working to increase the presence of female filmmakers in its selection, suggesting that if his team had to choose between equal quality submissions from a male director and a female director, they would go with the latter.
In terms of people of color, six of the 24 films in Competition are directed by non-white filmmakers. That’s 25%. As Cannes has pointed out in the past, to an extent the fest is at the mercy of the industry when it comes to diverse programming, with the statistics for non-white filmmakers in the biz rarely looking more favorable than that figure.
These numbers and percentages will likely be slightly altered as further films are added to the Official Selection over the coming weeks. Cannes runs July 6-17 this year.
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