Cannes Film Festival: Kate Winslet Honors Female Filmmakers With Lights on Women Award

Kate Winslet landed in Cannes to honor female filmmakers at the L’Oréal Lights on Women Award.

Winslet took to the stage with Cannes Film Festival president Iris Knobloch and L’Oréal Paris global brand president Delphine Viguier-Hovasse to kick off the evening’s awards ceremony and dinner. The prize selects one emerging female director from the Short Films official selection and the La Cinef film school official selection. Fourteen projects were eligible this year.

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The award was given to French director Fatima Kaci, whose “The Voice of Others” is an exploration of grief and resilience, as selected by Winslet, who was the sole juror.

Andie MacDowell and Jane Fonda joined the festivities, to celebrate at the alfresco restaurant Plage Goéland. It was elegantly decorated with flowers while waves lapped in the backdrop, but sits directly next to the festival’s outdoor cinema, which was screening Bruce Lee’s “The Way of the Dragon.”

“Now that is loud,” Winslet noted between between kicks and punches, “I might shout, because I want to make sure you don’t miss anything.”

Winslet launched into an impassioned speech about the power of female filmmakers and the need for new voices in the industry.

Judging the entries “reconfirmed for me that we as women want and need our very personal voices to be heard more than ever before. We deserve this space. We yearn for it, we have earned our place at the table,” said Winslet.

She noted that filmmaking is a long and arduous process, from raising money to dealing with starts and stops, and can take a toll on one’s sense of self belief. “Not one part of that journey is easy,” she said.

While Hollywood and the international film industry are becoming more inclusive and opening doors to women, she added that progress is slow.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 26: Kate Winslet and Jane Fonda attend the L'Oreal - Lights on Women Award at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at  on May 26, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)
Kate Winslet and Jane Fonda

“There have been times in recent years when I felt that we’re creeping a little bit closer to gender parity in the cinema world, then there are moments in the last few years when I’ve continued to witness displays of male power to not only go to prove that the needle still hasn’t quite swung firmly enough in our direction, but also that the culture does need further change,” she said. “And it’s made me want to just hug every woman I know, and to keep reminding them and each other just how capable, necessary and vital we are as women to the film industry.”

Winslet went on to praise the filmmakers in competition, and the festival for integrating the award into the program.

“They are reaching a wider audience and generations of women everywhere, not just within the walls of the film industry. And this means everything because this is how we will change the culture and how we can change the way that people think,” she added.

“Occasions like this really do give a platform for us to share our creative voices, and to propel the conversation forward so that we can create permanent change, and we will do it.”

Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, Fatima Kaci, and Kate Winslet
Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, Fatima Kaci, and Kate Winslet

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