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Women Win At Cannes: Will We All See Their Films Though?

Andrea Arnold dancing with her beautiful American Honey cast

What an exciting Cannes it's been! Lots of debate about films directed by women and about how we can get more of them. And although there are only three women-directed films among the 21 films in the main competition, 12 of the 21 have female protagonists. What does that mean for the future?

I've had a fine time watching Cannes online, through its official streaming, on Youtube and including some of the women's events run by Kering's Women in Motion programme. Is Cannes Any Better? I asked in one post. Maybe it is. Here are the women directors and writers among the prize-winners in various categories; and an actor. But note this–
I knew about Jane Campion being the only woman to win a Palme d'Or but this too is significant. 1961!!!

Now the big question is: Will these Cannes 2016 directors' work be well distributed, right around the world? I hope so! (I have great hopes of Tanji, a partnership between Echo Media and Tangerine Entertainment, the first mobile app to curate, personalise and guide us to women-centric film, tv and online content, but that won't resolve distribution problems.) 

1. Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann won the the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) prize for the best picture in competition. It's her third feature. This is what Women & Hollywood's Melissa Silverstein – who's seen Toni Erdmann – tweeted when Maren Ade didn't win a prize in the competition–





2. Julia Ducournau's Raw (Grave in French) has won Fipresci’s prize for a title that screened in either Directors’ Fortnight or Critics’ Week. Variety calls it 'A femme campus cannibal gorefest'. Here's an interview with her on Women & Hollywood and 'an extract' below.



3. Delphine and Muriel Coulin won the Un Certain Regard section award for Best Screenplay for The Stopover, a feminist military drama adapted from Delphine's novel Voir du Pays. The film traces the tensions between two servicewomen returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.



4. Or Sinai’s Anna has won the 1st prize in the Cinéfondation section for film students, where Japanese director Naomi Kawase headed the jury. Nadja Andrasev won 3d prize with A Nyalintas Nesze (The Noise of Licking).





In the Quinzaine, the Director's Fortnight, sometimes seen as an alternative to the main competition, women directors were also winners.



5. Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret won the short film Illy Award for Chasse Royale. (Please let it be in Show Me Shorts!)



6. The CICAE Art Cinema Award went to Shahrbanoo Sadat for Wolf and Sheep.



7. The SACD Prize, from France’s Writers Guild, went posthumously to Solveig Anspach for L’Effet Aquatique, a love story set between France and Iceland. Houda Benjamin (see below) got a Special Mention.




The Main Awards ceremony

Then there are the major prizes given out on the last night.




8. Houda Benyamina won the Camera d'Or with her Divines. Here's her speech when she received her award–
Women - Cannes belongs to us! It is our place! For things to change, women have to be more present in the selection. Thank you to my producer, who gave me the first seeds of self-confidence and who found solutions for me. I worked with warriors on this film. There is no such thing as a director without a scriptwriter: their place has to be redefined in French film. I was very demanding with my actors during the filming, so I offer many thanks to them. The job we do is an act of love!



9. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey won the Prix Du Jury. This is the THIRD time Andrea Arnold has won this prize!

Andrea Arnold & her star Sasha Lane
This is what Andrea said when she received her award–
When I am happy I feel like dancing. It is really incredible what is happening to me. I would like to thank everyone who took part in this film. It was a wonderful adventure. This prize belongs to the whole crew.



10. Because I love actors, here's Jaclyn Jose, who won best Actress for her role in Ma’Rosa by Brilliant Mendoza. It's the first time a Filipina actor has won this award.

 Jaclyn Jose

11. And, finally, a clip of Nicole Garcia’s Mal de Pierres (From the Land of the Moon), the third woman-directed film in the main competition. Let's celebrate her achievement, too.




Who knows which of these will reach general release down the road at my local cinema? But this year, the New Zealand International Film Festival has *no excuse* for screening as few women-directed films as usual.





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