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Film Can Represent A Passing Of The Torch Between
People Inspired By A Shared Love Of Freedom.
Cannes Film Festival In Sexism Storm
As All Palme D'Or Nominees Are Male
At first glance the above headlines seem to be diametrically opposed. In fact they reflect the same semantics – 'freedom of choice' and 'independent thinking' – in their broadest applications.

Because film is the 21st Century Visual Communicator, over the last 32 years The Business of Film has employed these Editorials to praise and/or question what happens in our industry and more importantly in the broader global geopolitical and social context.

During the height of conflict between Israel and Palestine a few years ago, we questioned the need for balance, when there was none, in global media reportage, and frankly why the establishment that is the 'Cannes Film Festival' did not offer a 'voice'. We have looked at the rise of anti-Semitism in France a few years back, when it was at a very dangerous level, and again questioned why the 'Establishment' had no 'voice'. We questioned why the Pope wears handmade shoes, when half the population of the world is Catholic and starving.

All of our questioning lies within the context of: does film reflect society, or is society a reflection of film? Throughout the global film industry the question is relevant. Point being: we have a responsibility as a powerful group of individuals who produce 'content', whether for the big or small screen, to address a variety of issues, and indeed we do. Within the context of 'freedom', we in the West are very fortunate that we are able to espouse and produce what the 'freedom' and 'independence' of a truly free society allow us to practice.

It was therefore timely, and appropriate, and gratifying that in 2011 Dieter Kosslick of Berlinale came out publicly and strongly exposing such injustice with reference to the Iranian director Jafar Panahi.

It is equally gratifying to see Thierry Fremaux and Gilles Jacobs exercising the 'power of their position' by supporting the filmmakers who produced the film Serment de Tobrouk (The Oath of Tobruk) with the statement 'Film Can Represent A Passing Of The Torch Between People Inspired By A Shared Love Of Freedom' in relation to the situation in Syria, and even more important the fact that they have publicly invited participation from the director and four people associated with the film. This is 'freedom of choice' and 'responsibility' to the geopolitical canvas that is necessary to galvanize the 'collective' world of film and filmmakers, and remind 'governments' that we filmmakers and purveyors of content have a worldwide collective 'voice'.

Bravo to the 'establishment' of the Cannes Film Festival in recognizing this film because their action is 'freedom' and 'independence of choice' in its most meaningful application!

The 'establishment' that is the Cannes Film Festival headed by Thiery Fremaux and Gilles Jacob has this year also publicly supported Sean Penn's magnificent efforts on behalf of the people of Haiti. Penn's actions, too, represent the blending of the geopolitical canvas and the 'power' of his position as a great actor, which he has used in the context of 'freedom of choice' and 'individual responsibility'.

Cannes Film Festival in sexism storm as all Palme d'Or nominees are male The Business of Film is in complete accord with and wholly supports Thierry Fremaux, who oversees the committee that selects the Cannes films, when he says he would never choose a film "that doesn't deserve selection just because it's directed by a woman". Let it not go unnoticed that Fremaux also said the lack of female directing talent was an industry-wide problem, and "women's roles need to be improved."

The Business of Film was in the minority when we voiced that The Hurt Locker was not the best film of the year, when it received the Oscar. The fact is, it was 'time', in the view of the 'establishment' that is the Academy for a Female Director to win. Are we suggesting that the Oscars are 'corrupt'? Not in the least. But the establishment that is Hollywood, with sufficient canvassing of a 'cause', can effect the desired result. In the final analysis, the Academy's choice may have implied that 'women' have equal opportunity in film. That is not true, but such is the message of the Hollywood dream factory.

The stark reality is that 'freedom' and 'independence of thought' are complex issues that stem from a variety of fundamental perceptions and built-in gender prejudice. Women do not support each other as much as they should in Hollywood or any other sector of society, and that's to the detriment not only of our gender but society as a whole. Women need to constantly invigorate 'the girls club' – especially when they have 'the power of position' – until such time that society ignores gender and focuses on ability and individuality.

The key is 'independent thinking and 'freedom of choice'. It would be a disaster for the world of film if the 'establishment' that is the Cannes Film Festival bowed to the 'pressure' of the group whose 'voice' generated headlines that reverberated around the world.

As the only female Owner/ Publisher in the world of Film and Television, I take responsibility for what society considers to be the 'power' of the 'Fourth Estate' to support women as often as the opportunity arises, but never for any consideration other than that is it 'newsworthy'. That is when the question of 'freedom of choice' and 'individual responsibility' kicks in, because in truth it's not about gender, but individuality. However, not all individuals of any gender are genuinely worthy of their positions.

How many extraordinarily capable women do we all know in the world of film and television who break through the 'glass ceiling' constantly in 2012AD, and how many inadequate men do we know who constantly fail upwards?

That is why Thierry Fremaux is 100% correct. Perhaps, what the naysayers are voicing is the question: can there be a different approach to choosing the films? Since the Cannes Film Festival has a multitude of submissions, can a more 'balanced' selection process evolve? Maybe little gems directed by women are missed??

Individuals in positions of power depend on those we trust, especially when these individuals are daily faced with so many complex considerations. It sometimes becomes easy, when other urgent 'considerations' are on the radar, to go with the status quo.

The 'establishment' that is the Cannes Film Festival should not be so vigorously accused of sexism. The fact is that Christine Aimee, the head of the Press Department, has a very powerful position, which, throughout the years, she has orchestrated and exercised with balance and insight to the many 'considerations' of her position.

Myriam Arab, Marche du Film, Head of Operations Marketing & Sales, is also a key figure within the 'establishment' that is the Cannes Film Festival, as is Michelle Waterhouse, Jerome Pillard's executive right hand.

Does 'Cannes' need to cast its net wider than the same named directors who show up year after year? Decidedly, yes. BUT Thierry Fremaux is absolutely correct in what he says! And The Business of Film supports his 'freedom of choice' and 'individual responsibility' one hundred percent.

To reflect on the 'process of selection' would be admirable. To yield to pressure would simply be wrong. To do so, the game would be lost. Let's not kid ourselves: in the end it is a 'game', but one that must be played within the context of 'freedom of choice' and 'individual responsibility' in the global geopolitical world of Film, the 21st century Visual Communicator

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