Kudos, knocks as female producers protest at Cannes Festival



Akeem Lasisi, France

Reactions have been greeting a protest staged by female producers at Cannes on Saturday.

About 82 women had alleged marginalisation against women in terms of the number of awards and feasibility that men have enjoyed at the festival over the years.

The protest also came against the background of sexual harassment said to have tinged the industry.

While France-based actor and director, Antonie Martin Sauveur, described the protest as a good one, the Director-General of the Nigerian Films and Videos Censors Board, Adedayo Thomas, said the women were already doing so good that they did not need to ask men for any special favour.

In an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, Sauveur said the protest had the potential to strike a balance where the need arose.

According to him, the gap between the number of films that men have moved through Cannes and those by women is wide, but he noted that the solution was not to create particular categories for women producers in terms of competition.

“They too will not like that,” he said.

On his part, Thomas, who is also at Cannes alongside the Lagos State team, which has staged several programmes that promote Nollywood and Lagos tourism, said quality should not be determined by gender.

According to him, the best thing is for women creatives to give men a run for their crafts, adding, “Art, in terms of quality, should not be valued on the basis of gender difference.”

Many film stars, including Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek and Marion Cotillard, were among the 82 women who participated in the symbolic work on the red carpet, with Cate Blanchett, head of the jury that will award the festival’s highest honour, the Palme d’Or, and veteran French director, Agnes Varda,  reading  out a statement.

The protesters noted, “As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos team, led by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, have hosted many film-makers and other stakeholders wanting to know about film business in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole.

The team also unveiled the second edition of ‘Cinema in Lagos’ and screened a documentary titled, ‘Nollywood in Lagos.’

While describing the state as a land of opportunities, the Permanent Secretary called on global investors to take advantage of the friendly policies and programmes of the present administration towards the creative industry, Arts, and Entertainment to invest in the tourism sector.

He further added that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had a great passion for creative arts and entertainment industry which he envisioned would become the next global money spinner across the world.

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