Cannes Film Festival Under Fire for Harsh Treatment of a Young Mother

"As if female filmmakers needed further obstacles to equality in our industry,"

This is not the first time the Cannes Film Festival has been accused of mistreating women.

In what's considered to be one of the most glamorous red carpet events on the calendar of A-Listers everywhere, Cannes Film Festival's recent treatment of a mother is detracting from the charm. 

British film director and writer Greta Bellamacina is “outraged” over the festival's actions towards her after she and her four-month-old son were denied entry. 

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Weekend baby love 

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Bellamacina, whose film Hurt By Paradise is screening at the festival, was initially refused entry to the site when she arrived on Wednesday with her child. After a “much stressful debate” she and her child were allowed into the accreditation area, though she says she was told that her buggy would have to be sent through a different entrance. Bellamacina says she was then told that her child would require a delegate’s pass, costing €300. After she offered to pay the fee, she was then informed that the pass would take two days to process and until approved, she’d need to leave the premises.

“I’m outraged at the absurdity of this backwards attitude. As if female filmmakers needed further obstacles to equality in our industry,”

To add insult to injury, the very premise of Hurt By Paradise is to explore the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

“Ironically, my film is about a young single mother trying to balance her life as a writer. She is treated quite patronisingly in some scenes in the film, but never as rudely as I was treated as a mother at the film festival today,” 


The incident comes just one month after the introduction of a new initiative, announced by the Cannes film festival and Marché du Film (it's business counterpart) which intended to make it easier for those with young children to attend the festival. Created in conjunction with the Parenting at Film Festivals group, a support network and lobby group set up to help parents in the film industry, the initiative offers additional free passes for a nanny and baby, as well as a breastfeeding and baby-changing room, easy access for young children, strollers, and a dedicated children’s area.

In a statement released on Thursday, Cannes said that the decision to refuse entry to Bellamacina had been made in error, which the festival was working to correct.

"The Festival de Cannes and the Marché du film set up for this 72nd edition a more active welcome policy for mothers who come to Cannes with their young children,” a spokesperson said. “Unfortunately Mrs Bellamacina was not aware of these new provisions, and following poor communication from a security officer and a registration host, she was denied access which should have been granted to her."

However, this is not the first time the Cannes Film Festival has been accused of mistreating women. Last year, Cate Blanchett stood with 82 women on the red carpet to protest the fact that, at the time, only 82 films by female directors had premiered in the Festival’s history compared to the 1,645 films directed by men.

In 2015, a group of women were allegedly turned away from a screening for not wearing high heels despite the director Thierry Frémaux denying women had to wear them as part of the dress code. Then, last year, Kristen Stewart removed her heels on the red carpet and walked along with bare feet which many believed it to be a small protest to the strict dress codes.

Try again next year. 

Main Image by @gretabellamacina on Instagram

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