Cate Blanchett Says She’s Fighting For More Women & LGBT People In Film Industry

Cate Blanchett Says She’s Fighting For More Women & LGBT People In Film Industry
Image: Source: @elizabethstewart1 on Instagram

Aussie screen icon and fierce LGBTQI+ advocate Cate Blanchett is continuing to push for more women, trans and non-binary people to get into filmmaking, all the while asking why only women are the ones asked to push the charge.

Speaking at a Kering Women in Motion panel at the Cannes Film Festival, the Tár actress and lesbian icon spoke to how many movie and TV sets are extremely male-dominated. 

“I do the head count, and I’m back in the same place, working with men who I love working with and respect,” Blanchett said, “[but] I’m walking on set and there’s 50 people on set and there’s three women. When is this going to deeply, profoundly shift?”

Blanchett’s appearance at the Festival this year is partly to promote Proof of Concept, a funding program she co-founded in 2023 that looks to provide women, trans and non-binary people with the chance to tell their stories. 

The actress is staunch in her belief that the film industry will be healthier with new perspectives, saying: “Their point of view, in whatever story [or] genre they tell it, will be different from somebody who has grown up [as a] white middle class male.

“It’s a different perspective. They’ll put the camera in a different place in the room. And I think that’s really exciting.”

Cate Blanchett discusses greater pressure on women, queer people

Additionally, Blanchett lamented the fact that the risk-averse industry is becoming “more doomed to [be] full of banal failures”, and that women disproportionately face pressure to succeed in their risks. 

“Anytime that I personally have advanced in my career, it is when I have taken risks,” she said. “And it’s just that a lot of our male counterparts in the industry are applauded for their risks and bravery.

“And they’re given $100 million and all that male actors are taking incredible risks that may not have worked, but God!”

Her hope is that women, trans and non-binary people are given the same chances to create as men in the industry, and that they are still supported even if projects don’t perform to expectations. 

The male-dominated film industry

The need for an initiative like Proof of Concept that allows women to have a greater presence in the film industry remains apparent – only 6% of the 1,700 top-grossing movies since 2007 have been directed by women, and there were only two transgender filmmakers in that list. 

Furthermore, despite the fact that Barbie was the top-grossing film of last year, only 30 out of the top 100 films at the 2023 box office featured women and girls in lead or co-lead roles. In comparison, 28.5% of major films released in 2022 were considered LGBTQI+ friendly.

For Cate Blanchett, continuing to advocate for increased visibility of women and queer people is extremely important, and hopes that people remember it’s a conversation everyone needs to have – not just those the climate affects.

“There seems to be in the media, in particular, a sense of ‘Haven’t we discussed that?’” she commented. “And it’s like, I feel the same way. 

“The amount of times that women are in press conferences, say at a festival like this, and they get asked about women’s representation in films. And there are two men sitting on this panel, I would love for you to ask them that question.”

“Is it my problem?” she concluded. “It’s my reality. But why are you asking me to solve it?”

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