There is less than a month left before the Cannes Film Festival takes off, and preparation details are being publicized as time passes. The latest development announced for the event appears to be timed just right to put a positive spin on Cannes in light of recent happenings that are souring the film fest atmosphere. There was the matter of new regulations that barred Netflix from competing with some of its original films. And then there was the issue raised about the low turnout of female directors for the festival. The organizers look to recover by revealing its jury lineup.
Variety reports that the Cannes Film Festival organizers have announced who would comprise its competition jury for this year. Under the presidency of veteran actress Cate Blanchett, the 2018 festival’s nine jury members include four women to five men, filmmakers and stars from across five continents on Earth. Among them are director Ava DuVernay and actress Kristen Stewart from the US, joined by French actress Lea Seydoux and singer Khadja Nin from Burundi in Africa. This closer gender parity in the jury is done under the initiative of Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux, in light of balancing the gender ratio.
Critics have started taking shots at the 71st Cannes festival due to having only three films directed by women standing for competition. Fremaux had these thoughts in mind when selecting the jury members, saying that he had been in past discussions over the subject with women in the motion picture industry like American actress-producer Jessica Chastain, who was on the jury in the 2017 Cannes under President Pedro Almovodar. “For the last four years, I’ve become much more concerned about the presence of women at the festival,” says Fremaux, noting that other film selection committees have more women these days.
Both Kristen Stewart and Ava DuVernay are active in films nowadays. DuVernay in fact has just recently directed a new film adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” for Disney, which premiered just this March. He became the first African-American woman director to work on a film with a plus-$100 million budget. For her part, Stewart has not rested on her laurels following her famous role in the “Twilight” film saga, and is in fact appearing in three films this 2018.
DuVernay and Stewart with their two other female fellow jury members are joined by French directors Denis Villeneuve and Robert Guédiguian, Taiwanese actor-director Chang Chen, and Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev. Villeneuve directed 2017’s “Blade Runner 2049” while Chang starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The 71st Cannes Film Festival runs from May 8 to 19.
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