Dozens of female film stars link arms in protest on Cannes red carpet

Eighty-two women climbed the steps of the Palais des Festivals at the Cannes Film Festival in an unprecedented red carpet protest to press for improved gender equality in the film industry.

The number of stars, filmmakers and film industry professionals ascending the steps represented the number of female filmmakers who have been selected to compete at Cannes during the festival's seven-decade history.

In contrast to their 82, 1,866 films directed by men have been picked for the prestigious festival lineup.

Organizers said the event was orchestrated by the Time's Up movement and the French movement known as 5020x2020 to show "how hard it is still to climb the social and professional ladder" for women.

It brought an array of film industry professionals to the Cannes red carpet, including actresses Salma Hayek and Jane Fonda, "Wonder Woman" filmmaker Patty Jenkins and French director Agnes Varda, a recipient of an honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Also joining were the five female members of this year's Cannes jury: Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydoux and Burundian singer Khadja Nin. Blanchett read a statement atop the Palais steps in English; Varda read it in French.

"Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise," Blanchett said. "We stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination to change and progress."

"The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all," she concluded. "Let's climb."

The protest was held ahead of the premiere of French filmmaker Eva Husson's "Girls of the Sun," which is about a Kurdish battalion of women soldiers. Husson is one of three female filmmakers out of the 21 movies in competition for the Palme d'Or this year.

The other two — Nadine Labaki's "Capernaum," and Alice Rohrwacher's "Happy as Lazzaro" — are to premiere next week.

Cannes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years over the number of female directors selected into its main slate, considered one of the most esteemed achievements in cinema.

Jane Campion is the only female filmmaker to ever win the Palme.

The festival supported Saturday's protest. Festival director Thierry Fremaux earlier this week hailed Saturday's event as a way for women "to affirm their presence."

Fremaux has repeatedly insisted that the festival chooses its films purely based on quality. But he's also signaled that the festival is reanalyzing its procedures and making its selection committees gender-balanced.

Actresses and film makers, including Cate Blanchett and Salma Hayek, took part in the demonstration for equality. Source: 1 NEWS



Toni Street opens up about her battle with illness in Mother's Day Facebook post

TV personality and radio host Toni Street has revealed she's been struggling with illness over the past month.

The Hits morning host posted the news on her radio show's Facebook page while wishing everyone a special Mother's Day.

Street has been absent from her morning radio show for a month. Source: The Hits

"My Mum has had to live with me for the last month as I've barely been able to leave the house with a liver injury after a severe reaction to an antibiotic.

"Four weeks off air and unlikely to be back this week either. I'm badly jaundiced and terribly nauseous. Mum has had to look after my kids, cook, clean and take me to and from hospital," Street posted.

In some good news, Street says she is now recovering from the illness.

"We are celebrating today as I've finally turned a corner and am grateful for my Mum like never before... can't wait to be back on air I have SO missed you all."

Toni Street took to Facebook to reveal she has been suffering with jaundice.
Toni Street took to Facebook to reveal she has been suffering with jaundice. Source: Facebook


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South Auckland duo Adeaze back with a new album in honour of their late mum

The ultimate Mother's Day gift would have to be the one two brothers have created to honour their mum following her death.

Adeaze, the South Auckland duo with the velvet voices, are back with a new album, TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reports.

The brothers Viiz and Nainz Tupa'i put on countless concerts in the lounge for their mum and after her death they decided there was no better way to pay tribute to her than through song.

Whether they were singing with Aaradhna, or with their mum, Adeaze was always in perfect harmony, and they say it's all because of their mum.

"Every time we had family come over or just visitors come over, it could be random people, she'd say 'Go to your room, get changed!  Grab your guitars, you're going to put on a performance for all your family!'" Nainz said.

Selepa Tupa'i passed away in September 2015, and though it was devastating for the whole family, it hit younger brother Viiz hard.

"Believe it or not, I'm doing really well at the moment. The last couple of years, I was 100 million times worse," Viiz said.

The family started a performing arts school 10 years ago, but when mum died, for Viiz teaching was too much and so was singing.

So it came as a complete surprise last year when Viiz told Nainz he wanted to release an album - for their mum.

"We love our mum that much we wanted to put out this album of all her favourite songs," Nainz said.

"And a lot of the songs were hymns, songs our mother had taught us growing up and the songs she really, really loved me and this guy (Viiz) singing."

If there was no mums, there'd be nobody. Even Donald Trump had a mum - Nainz Tupa'i of Adeaze

Viiz said: "This was probably the hardest album to record, because you get the emotions and everything, and then your voice - you can't even sing."

And the album is not dedicated just to their mum.

"If there was no mums, there'd be nobody. Even Donald Trump had a mum." Nainz said.

Viiz wondered: "Did he? Did he have a mum?"

One of Selepa's proudest moments came when former Prime Minister Helen Clark declared Adeaze her favourite Kiwi band.

So, with mum-to-be Jacinda Ardern now in charge, "We could sing for you when you have baby," Viiz said.

For many mums there's no better Mother's Day gift than sibling harmony. 

And if you'd like a copy of Adeaze's new album, Seven Sharp has three to give away. The programme wants you to take a pic of your best homemade Mother's Day card and send it to Seven Sharp on Facebook or post it to them at PO Box 1945 Christchurch.

The brother’s mother has recently died so they decided to honour her through song. Source: Seven Sharp