Kristen Stewart, (wearing CHANEL)Chanel Beauty House Debut, Inside, Los Angeles, USA - 28 Feb 2018

GIRL POWER: Women directors may be few and far between in the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, but the fairer sex will be in the majority on the jury handing out the coveted Palme d’Or award.

Headed by Cate Blanchett, the panel will feature fellow actresses Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux, alongside American director Ava DuVernay and Burundian singer-songwriter Khadja Nin. That should make for some memorable red carpet moments, since Stewart is an ambassador for Chanel, while Seydoux represents Louis Vuitton.

They will be joined by Denis Villeneuve, director of “Blade Runner 2049”; Taiwanese actor Chen Chang, whose movies include “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”; French director Robert Guédiguian, and Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, who won the best screenplay award at the festival in 2014 for his feature “Leviathan.”

Festival organizers last week revealed the lineup for the Official Selection of the festival, which raised eyebrows due to the absence of stalwarts such as Mike Leigh and Naomi Kawase, and the fact that it includes just three women directors, at a time when the #TimesUp movement has cast a spotlight on equality in the film industry.

Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s artistic director, told a press conference that a balanced representation of gender is never part of the selection process. “We have no agenda, no editorial line when selecting the films, each film is selected for its own merit,” he said.

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