Page 3 Profile: Jane Campion, filmmaker


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The Independent Online

Lights, camera, sexism!

Yes, that could be the mantra in some parts of the film industry. Now the president of this year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter, producer and director Jane Campion, has appealed for gender equality.

Cannes we do it?

Campion has proved women can succeed in the business. She was the first female filmmaker in history to win the coveted Palme d’Or – the highest prize awarded at Cannes – which she received for directing The Piano, and was the second of only four women ever to be nominated for the best director Oscar. However, she believes cinema still has a long way to go in redressing the gender imbalance.

How so?

The 60-year-old, who was born in New Zealand and is now based in Australia, has previously described an event she attended for Cannes’ 50th anniversary in 1997 when she found herself on a stage with all the other Palme d’Or winners. She was the only woman up there.

“It was a shocking moment. It was embarrassing for everyone. I think everyone felt that it was really not right,” she said in an interview with The Guardian ahead of the 2014 edition of the festival, which kicks off tomorrow. Not much has changed in the time that has elapsed. “My feeling is we need an Abraham Lincoln figure to get in there, and say it has to be equal.”

Is she saying Cannes is inherently sexist?

Campion avoided openly criticising the festival, which she is judging alongside big names including chair Sofia Coppola and director Nicolas Winding Refn.

“My sense is that Cannes is very interested in new voices in cinema, never mind where it comes from or the sex of it. It’s to do with who funds films in the first place,” she said.

This year’s panel of judges will be the first to have a female majority since 2009. Other women who will be overseeing the festival prizes include Carole Bouquet of France, Leila Hatami of Iran, and Do-yeon Jeon of South Korea, while Willem Dafoe, Gael Garcia Bernal and Chinese director Jia Zhangke complete the list for the men.