Women in Motion Promotes Gender Equality at Cannes

In 2015, women are still under-represented in the film industry. The result is one of cultural impoverishment, for films shape the way we think and act. Promoting openness and diversity on the silver screen means encouraging change. This is the goal of ‘the Women in Motion’ program. EYES IN™ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk covered live at Cannes as the ‘Women in Motion’ initiative, the Kering Group, together with the Festival de Cannes, celebrated women’s talent in cinema. The program also encouraged reflection and debate on women's contribution to – and role in – the film industry.

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Women in Motion Program Encourages Change at Cannes

With its global reach and artistic reputation, the Festival de Cannes is the ideal forum for highlighting these issues within the international film industry, and bringing them to the fore. For Kering, now an Official Partner of the Festival de Cannes, the ‘Women in Motion’ project is the continuation of a long-standing commitment to the film sector and to promoting women’s rights. By launching this ambitious initiative for at least the next five years, the Festival de Cannes is sending a strong message in favor of creativity and diversity, and thereby reinforcing its status as one of the world’s leading film festivals.

Kering and the Festival de Cannes share the common belief that it’s all about perspective. Cultivating diversity means promoting openness and advocating a new, equally important perspective: that of women, based on their own experience.It is through this shift in perspective that the audience’s view, society’s view and thus people’s view on the world and its inhabitants, will change.

Promoting women’s dignity and rights, as well as fighting violence against women, are at the heart of Kering’s vision and social commitment, notably through the action of the Kering Corporate Foundation chaired by François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering. Since its set-up in 2009, the Kering Foundation has supported over 140,000 women around the world through partnerships with NGOs and social entrepreneurs. As well as combating violence against women, the Kering Foundation is also a partner of the Chime for Change campaign launched by Gucci to empower women and girls around the world, through justice, education and health.

Kering and cinema Under the impetus of François-Henri Pinault, the Group has been supporting the film industry for over ten years. Through partnerships, competitions and production support, Kering and its brands are working to preserve and promote the film industry and the talented professionals who are part of it, lending particular support to works with a strong social or environmental strand.

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For several years now, this mission has focused on the Group’s defence of women’s rights, as well as its convictions regarding sustainable development and the fostering of young talent. Alongside Gucci, the Group’s leading luxury brand, and within the framework of the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, the Kering Foundation has supported the annual Spotlighting Women Documentary Award, which recognises three films that highlight the courage, strength and commitment of women around the world. The Kering Foundation also sponsors feature films directed by women, such as Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower (2009), which addresses the dangerous and traumatic practice of female circumcision.

This year, the Kering Group is backing Luc Jacquet’s feature film, Ice and Sky, which tells the unique story of glaciologist and climatologist Claude Lorius, among the first scientists to have discovered climate change. In addition, Kering has been a partner of L’Ecole de la Cité since it was founded in 2012 by director Luc Besson; the film school provides vocational training to students looking to work in the industry.

‘Women in Motion’ consists first and foremost of Talks, a series of open encounters with emblematic women and men from the film sector who wish to share their views about the issue of women and cinema. The goal is to create a space for discussion allowing industry professionals of every nationality to come together and exchange views. Hour-long discussions will be organised daily around one or more guests – notably from among the major names of the official selection – chosen in partnership with the Festival de Cannes team. Guests will be interviewed by a host prior to a Q&A session with the audience, composed of around forty journalists and industry professionals.

As of 2016, ‘Women in Motion’ will also include two awards. The first will be awarded each year in recognition of a personality’s contribution to women and the film industry. The second will recognize a talented young female in cinema, chosen by the first winner.
In 2015, to celebrate the launch of the ‘Women in Motion’ Prize, a special Honorary Award will be presented to a woman whose career and personal commitment reflect the values defended by the initiative. The award will be presented during a Presidential Dinner, organised by François-Henri Pinault, Thierry Frémaux and Pierre Lescure.

By putting the spotlight directly on talented women from all walks of cinema, and by giving a voice to female film industry experts, ‘Women in Motion’ aims to become a central event at the Festival de Cannes. In 2015, Kering is a co-producer of the film Ice and Sky, directed by Luc Jacquet, which tells the story of the farseeing glaciologist and climate specialist Claude Lorius, among the first scientists to have discovered climate change.

In 2014, on 6 March 2014, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Kering Foundation hosted the European premiere of the documentary Brave Miss World directed by Cecilia Peck. Brave Miss World tells the story of Linor Abargil who was abducted and raped two months prior to being crowned Miss World in 1998. This event kicked off a series of screenings hosted at Kering brands around the world, aimed at raising awareness on sexual violence against women.

From 2011 to 2014, the Kering Foundation partnered with the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, together running the Spotlighting Women Documentary Awards. Each year, the Spotlighting Women Documentary Awards recognised three documentary films that illuminate the courage, compassion, extraordinary strength of character and engagement of women worldwide.

The winning filmmakers shared a grant of 50,000 dollars as well as the support of a one-year mentorship from the Tribeca Film Institute to finalize and promote their documentary film.

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These Awards have proven to be an efficient awareness raising tool to draw the public’s attention to the issue of violence against women.

  • The 2014 Spotlighting Women Documentary Award was notably presented to India’s Daughter, the film directed and produced by Leslee Udwin. This documentary pays tribute to the remarkable and inspiring short life of Jyoti Singh, and shows the brutality of her gang-rape and murder in Delhi in 2012. The film has received warm reviews from cinema critics, as well as the support of industry professionals such as Meryl Streep or Freida Pinto.
  • In 2010, the Kering Foundation sponsored the French release of the film Desert Flower, directed by Sherry Hormann, a film that aimed to raise awareness on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The movie tells the story of Waris Dirie. Raised in the Somalian desert, she fled to escape a pre-arranged marriage at 13 and became a housemaid in London, where she went on to become a famous international top model. Today a member of the Kering Foundation board of directors, she has dedicated her life to combatting FGM and used her fame to draw attention to this taboo topic.
  • In 2009, Kering supported the release of the feature environmental movie HOME, underwritten with Yann-Arthus Bertrand and co-produced by Luc Besson. Kering’s support of HOME enabled the documentary to be broadcasted around the world (via TV channels, on the Internet and in movie theaters).
  • Since its launch in 2012, Kering has supported Luc Besson’s L’Ecole de la Cité. As part of the director’s Cité du Cinéma, L’Ecole de la Cité offers free courses on filmmaking and film screenwriting to young students between the ages of 18 and 25.

Many of Kering brands have led or supported initiatives for the film industry, the most representative of them being Gucci.

  • For about 10 years, Gucci’s partnership with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation has demonstrated the company’s ongoing commitment to restoring and preserving the work of artists and their legacies.
  • Since 2006, Gucci has committed to add at least one film every year to a growing collection of restored titles funded by the brand.
  • Gucci has supported the restoration of 10 films, for a total contribution to The Film Foundation of over $3.5 million.
  • Since 2007, Gucci has established a documentary finishing fund with Tribeca Film Institute in New York through which the company has supported 54 documentary film projects to date, demonstrating Gucci’s continued commitment to supporting creative and independent talents.
  • Throughout its seven-year history, the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund has provided more than USD $910,000 in grants to filmmakers.
  • Since 2011, Gucci has entered into a strategic partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to sponsor the annual Art+Film Gala. The partnership was forged to create an important, long-term relationship with one of the top arts and cultural institutions in Los Angeles, at the center of the film community.

For more #Cannes2015 coverage, follow @EYESINMagazine.

Source: The Kering Group

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