No Women-Directed Films at Cannes – Please Sign the Petition Below

Twenty-two films will be showcased at the Cannes Film Festival this year, but not one of them is directed by a woman.

A group of French feminist activists known as La Barbe issued a manifesto protesting the lack of women directors at Cannes, and now our colleague Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, has put together a petition in English directed to the jurors of the Cannes Film Festival expressing our outrage at the lack of women directors in competition and the male-dominated selection process at the Festival.

The petition calls for transparency in the film selection process and for an industry-wide discussion about the continuing problem of lack of opportunities for women directors working at the highest level of the business.

The petition was launched on Wednesday afternoon with over 170 people signing initially including many prominent women leaders.   Over  1,100 people have signed so far including women artists and arts organizations from all over the world.

Please Sign the Petition!

Please sign the petition and encourage your friends to do so too. You can read the petition below.  If you want to sign it, please go to:

Thanks so much!

Martha Richards
Executive Director, WomenArts


Petition To the Jurors of the
Cannes Film Festival:

You will spend the next 11 days watching 22 films that the programmers and leaders of the Cannes Film Festival deemed to be the worthiest of this year’s competition.

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world.  Festival Films including last year’s Oscar winner The Artist have gone on to have long and successful lives, and filmmakers’ careers have been launched on the Croisette.  As we all know, the opportunities to have your film seen on a world stage is invaluable.

For the 2012 edition, as with the 2010 edition, there are NO FEMALE DIRECTED FILMS in competition, and in the 64 years of the Festival only one woman — Jane Campion — has been awarded the Palme D’Or.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux responded to the recent manifesto from La Barbe – a French feminist action group – which decried the lack of women by saying:

“I select work on the basis of it actual qualities. We would never agree to select a film that doesn’t deserve it on the basis it was made by a woman . . . There is no doubt that greater space needs to be given to women within cinema. But it’s not at Cannes and in the month of May that this question needs to be raised, but rather all year and everywhere.”

We call for Cannes, and other film festivals worldwide to commit to transparency and equality in the selection process of these films. We judge films as human beings, shaped by our own perspectives and experiences. It is vital, therefore, that there be equality and diversity at the point of selection.

Mr. Fremaux is correct in stating that women’s rights must be addressed year round.  We, the undersigned, encourage an industry-wide discussion about this issue, and call on the leaders throughout the industry to participate in and contribute to a dialogue about how we can, to quote Mr. Fremaux, “create a greater space for women within cinema.”


Melissa Silverstein, Women and Hollywood
Gloria Steinem
Robin Morgan
The Sisterhood is Global Institute
Julie Burton, The Women’s Media Center
Debra Zimmerman, Women Make Movies
Gayle Nachlis, Women in Film
Terry Lawler, New York Women in Film and Television
Martha Richards, WomenArts
Jan Lisa Huttner, The Hot Pink Pen
Julie Parker Benello, Chicken & Egg Pictures
Abigail E. Disney, Fork Films
Sue Parrish, Sphinx Theatre Company, London
Julie Janata, Alliance of Women Directors
Kristin Marting, League of Professional Theatre Women
Paula Alves, Femina – International Women’s Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro
The Women in the Picture Association – Israel
The International Women’s Film Festival Rehovot, Israel
Petrina D’Rozario, Women in Film India
Cheryl Eagan-Donovan, Women in Film New England
Eileen Hoeter, Vancouver Women in Film
Antonella Estevez, FEMCINE, Chile’s Women Film Festival
Paula Alves, Femina – International Women’s Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro
WIFT, Sweden
IWFF – Dortmund/Cologne
Lynn Hershman Leeson, Hotwire Productions
Susi Newborn, WIFT New Zealand
Martin Blankemeyer, Munich Film Society
Gillian Armstrong, Director
Marion Rosenberg, Women in Film Board (LA)
Nancy Rae Stone, Women in Film Finishing Fund (LA)
Lisa Noonan, Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society
Ariel Dougherty, Co-Founder, Women Make Movies
Ladies Lounge – Australian Women Cinematographers

Plus many others that you can see when you view the petition at: