Cate Blanchett leads 82 women in Cannes Film Festival equality protest

A host of the film industry’s biggest female stars joined together in protest at the Cannes Film Festival .

Cate Blanchett , Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart and Marion Cotillard are among the 82 women who have taken part in a women’s march on the red carpet at the event in France.

The number represents the 82 films that have been directed by women in the main competition of the festival’s 71-year history, compared with 1,645 by male directors.

The group, which also included actress Lea Seydoux, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and French auteur Agnes Varda, posed holding hands on the steps of the Palais.

Jury president Cate said: "We all face our own unique challenges but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress.

"We are writers, we are producers, we are directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents and all of us are involved in the cinematic arts and we stand together in solidarity with women of all industries."

The march up the steps of the Palais was organised by French movement 5050×2020, which calls for gender equality and diversity in the French film industry.

A statement on the group’s website refers to the scandal that follows the sexual assault allegations made against disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein , saying: "While French cinema wasn’t shaken by the Weinstein shockwave, it is essential that we move to take concrete action reaching beyond the issue of sexual abuse alone.

"We believe that the distribution of power needs to be questioned. We believe that equality restores the balance of power.

"We believe that diversity deeply changes representations.

"We believe that the opportunity to work in an egalitarian and inclusive environment must be seized because we are certain that the equal sharing of power will promote profound creative renewal."

The protest was backed by actress Amber Heard, who posted a video on Twitter, alongside the caption: "Tonight at the Cannes Film Festival I was proud to stand in solidarity with my sisters in support of the # MeToo and # TimesUp movements."

She said in the video: "Tonight I am proud to say I walk the carpet with all my sisters to form a united front as we stand shoulder to shoulder together in solidarity to not only commemorate all the work we have done in this industry and all industries but also to highlight how far we have to go.

"I feel so proud to be amongst such brave, powerful and important women as they stand up to see real change happen now."

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