Maura Delpero

CINEMA STAR: Maura Delpero has won the Women in Motion prize for young talent, an award granted by Kering and the Cannes Film Festival to promote the careers of emerging filmmakers, despite the current landscape of canceled cinema events.

“Talent appreciation and economical recognition, this is exactly what generations of women were excluded from,” said Delpero, who will be handed a prize of 50,000 euros.

The Italian director’s first full-length feature, “Maternal,” traces the experience of two adolescent mothers and a nun in a refuge in Argentina, drawing on themes of personal choice and motherhood, and emphasizing the importance of education for women.

“‘Maternal’ combines documentary naturalness with cinematographic elegance in a fascinating manner,” remarked Eva Trobisch, last year’s prize winner, who selected Delpero.

Trobisch said she appreciated how the director treats her characters attentively, and with tenderness, drawing the audience into a universe that seems full of oppositions, only to show how things are connected.

Kering created the prize in 2015 as part of its role partnering with the Cannes Film Festival, with the intention of promoting the perspective of women in the movie industry.

“Those perspectives can transform the way people see and think about things, and the action they take on a daily basis,” said François Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering.

Pinault noted that continuing with the prize was an offer of solidarity with an industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the 73rd edition of the Cannes Film Festival could not take place in its usual form, organizers did not want the year to be “wasted” for cinema and creativity, said Pierre Lescure, president of the festival.

The festival director, Thierry Frémaux, who noted the importance of fighting for equality in the industry, especially in a year marked with frustration, said he hoped the award would encourage Delpero to pursue her talent for cinema.

Kering has made gender equality a priority, both in its philanthropic efforts and company policies. Through its Women in Motion program, it has recognized leading figures for their careers and activism, including Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Isabelle Huppert, Patty Jenkins and Gong Li.

The company has expanded the program to include other areas in the arts and culture, recently awarding Sabine Weiss for her career in photography.