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Cannes, Hollywood Far from Liberal Regarding Powerful Women

Cannes, Hollywood Far from Liberal Regarding Powerful Women


Jane Campion is the only woman to win the Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Palme d’or (Best Film prize) for her 1993 drama, The Piano, as well as the festival’s top short film prize for Peel in 1996. 

At the opening of this year’s festival, she received the Carrosse d’or award at the opening of the Director’s Fortnight. Campion is an impressive woman in a tough business that’s especially brutal for women.She is the only woman nominated at Cannes this year.

It’s a sad fact, but having one or, more typically, no women honored at Cannes is the norm.Sorry, but I have a hard time believing that there aren’t more films directed by women worthy of a nomination. It’s so passé to exclude the gals from the guy’s club just because it’s perceived to be a guy’s club. C’mon, this is 2013 not 1913.

Becoming a female director in Hollywood is an elaborate obstacle course in and of itself. Campion noted that after receiving her award. In fact, she once said the comment she continually receives, “oh, so you’re a woman director,” as rather pathetic noting that no one would dare make the same observation to a male director.

The number of women in Hollywood leadership honored for a major award is truly abysmal. Washington is bad enough, but at least it’s improving. Hollywood seems stuck in time. This is rather ironic for an industry priding itself on its socially liberal viewpoint on everything imaginable.

Perhaps women in media, business, and politics should band together and demand Hollywood change with the times. Maybe they could honor Campion with a Camp Campion Boot Camp where they all strategize on ways to improve the male/female ratio of leadership in Hollywood and the number of women behind the cameras directing the onscreen action.

There are a few pioneering women in Tinseltown who’ve survived and done well, but not many. Sherry Lansing is one of them. As the first woman to head a major studio, Paramount, Lansing proved what a woman can do in such a role. I had the opportunity to meet her while working at the White House, and you could tell she was the lady in charge. Clearly, no one was running over her. She is a very strong, smart, and nice person–quite impressive.

Sadly, stories like those forged by Campion and Lansing have yet to catch on.Let’s hope the ladies step up and take charge. Show Oscar who is the boss. Maybe it’s time for Olivia, not Oscar, to take charge and shine.

Dee Dee Benkie

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