I think finally studios and people in position and power, are realizing that lead roles can be filled by talent no matter their background…says actress Gemma Chan
L’Oreal Paris, the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival, is a feminist brand that has been empowering women for 25 years. Last year, L’Oreal Paris took this effort to the next level and introduced a special annual award program for promising short filmmakers, the Lights On Women Award.
The brand announced the second annual winner of the award chosen from the Short Films Competition and La Cinef’s selection at Cannes. Mai Vu of Vietnam won first place for her 9-minute film, Spring Roll Dream, which depicted the simple yet profound importance of family tradition. The final choice was announced in person by Academy Award-winner, L’Oreal Paris spokesperson and Juror of the 2022 edition, Kate Winslet, during a special prize ceremony at the Jeune Cinema gala dinner held at the Cannes Film Festival on May 27, 2022.
“Sometimes a simple tale about the purity of a family tradition can mean the most of all,” says Kate Winslet, of Vu’s winning film.
“It is a sweet reminder that if we just take a step away from the chaos of daily life and let go of the emotional structures and boundaries that we create for ourselves and our children, we can reconnect with the things that matter most. We can remind ourselves that the smallest of pleasures can serve to anchor us in who we truly are. All these beautiful emotions are delicately displayed in Mai Vu’s exquisite film, Spring Roll Dream.”
Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, Global Brand President, L’Oreal Paris, adds, “This second edition of the Lights On Women Award represents L’Oreal Paris’ long-standing commitment to achieving greater gender balance in cinema. This year marks 25 years of L’Oreal Paris at Cannes, and we remain dedicated to creating a future where women may take their rightful place in the industry.”
This powerful night featured legendary actresses and speakers from L’Oreal Paris, Helen Mirren, Gemma Chan, Andie MacDowell, Camille Razat and Aja Naomi King.
At the sidelines of the event we caught up with actress Gemma Chan who celebrated and supported this next generation of talented female filmmakers.
You have been lauded for your style on the red carpet, how important is it for one to be comfortable in their own skin?
Gemma: Whether one speaks of clothes or makeup, I am so glad that the world is now appreciating diverse forms of beauty, and the standards are no longer rigid. We are more appreciating that both women and men come in very different shades and features and its great that this is now mainstream, we should celebrate everyone for their unique qualities.
Asians and Indians are getting more prominent roles in American movies. Your thoughts on this?
Gemma: I think finally studios and people in position and power, are realizing that lead roles can be filled by talent no matter their background. I think its very important to recognize the importance, that if story is told well and you have the right fit for the role people will be appreciative of the work that is put in and the audience will be happy to see it.
I am so glad this is happening and we are moving in the right direction when it comes to representation. Asians, Indians and others are all appearing in mainstream films. I think we have further to go, and vast representation in our films lead to better stories, as we come from many different places and cultures.
Your thoughts on the 25-year anniversary of L’Oreal’s association with Cannes.
Gemma: I am so happy to be here with L’Oreal Paris, and to be together with everyone else and to celebrate this partnership which has been there for 25 years is just incredible. It shows how long and L’Oreal Paris has been committed to and supported cinema and how good partnership has been.
What would you like to say about the Lights on Women Awards?
Gemma: We had an amazing dinner last night in honour of the Lights on Women Awards, an initiative which L’Oreal Paris started last year to award promising female show makers. Kate Winslet was there last night with us, she gave a beautiful speech. Its wonderful that we support female filmmakers at the crucial stage in their career, and try and help them out with some financial support which they may need.