Cannes: Jane Campion Reflects on Male-Dominated Film Industry

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Jane Campion

The only woman ever to win the film festival's top prize in its history with "The Piano" in 1993 will insist on only one thing as jury president: Her fellow jurors must watch all the films.

CANNES – Palme d’Or jury president Jane Campion, the only woman to win the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize in its history, with The Piano in 1993, expects her fellow jurors to “see all the films,” to meet two or three times over the coming days to discuss them and for everyone to be unencumbered by rules when choosing their winner.

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Campion also took a moment to comment on the male domination in her trade after noting that Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux had told her that only 7 percent of the 1,800 titles submitted for consideration were directed by woman. “Thierry is [rightly] proud that women represent 20 percent of the titles selected across the Cannes sections," she said.

But Campion certainly believes the low ratio of female filmmakers makes the industry “feel undemocratic,” and while she doesn’t resent male filmmakers and “enjoys films” made by men, males “seem to eat all the cake.”

Campion’s nine-member jury of actors and directors this year counts more female than male members, with five women and four men.

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Campion said she expects to meet up with everyone three times “to test the temperature and consider the battles we might have at the end” to decide on the winners.

“It’s easy to land a film and there are so many ways a film can be compromised,” Campion said. “Basically, we can look with our hearts and our conscience and decide what we love the most.”

Fellow juror Sofia Coppola, returning to Cannes for jury duty after her The Bling Ring opened last year’s Un Certain Regard, said she recognized some of the filmmakers on her judgment list and some not and said the mix of recognized names and newcomers was down to Fremaux to decide on.

“It’s my job to encounter the films,” Coppola said.

Campion and Coppola are joined on the jury by fellow directors Jia Zhangke (China) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Denmark), alongside actors Willem Dafoe (U.S.), Gael Garcia Bernal (Mexico), Carole Bouquet (France), Jeon Do-yeon (Korea) and Leila Hatami (Iran).

The Palme d’Or and other prizes will be presented at a standalone ceremony May 24.