Hero lights on women award Kate Winslet

Cannes Festival: L’Oréal Paris Rewards Promising Female Short-Film Directors

Empowering talented women to positively impact the future of the film industry

On the occasion of the 74th Festival de Cannes, L’Oréal Paris has announced the launch of the Lights on Women Award which will honour one rising female filmmaker in partnership with the Short Films competition of the Festival de Cannes. The winner will be hand-picked from a selection of the Festival de Cannes’ Short Films competition and from international film schools’ short film programs.

The final choice will be determined and announced by Academy award-winner and L’Oréal Paris spokesperson Kate Winslet - the Award’s first Juror - during a special prize ceremony at the Jeune Cinéma dinner in Cannes on July 16.


Lights On Women Award: a dedicated award for female short-film Directors

As an Official Partner of the Cannes Film Festival for more than 24 years, L’Oréal Paris has always been a feminist brand that champions women’s empowerment, specifically in the world of film through its privileged relationship with iconic actresses who embody the values of the brand. Now, L’Oréal Paris is going even further with this commitment, with the launch of a dedicated award program for women in cinema.

Short films, thanks to their flexible format and relatively low barriers to entry, have long been considered to reflect the future of the film industry; as such, this award will encourage promising directors to pursue their creative ambitions and provide funding that will empower women in overcoming the obstacles that they encounter.

Discover more about how we Empower Women


L’Oréal Paris announces Aleksandra Odić, inaugural winner of Lights On Women Award

Lights on Women Aleksandra Odic

Aleksandra Odić from Germany took the top honour for her 22-minute film, Frida, from the 11 selected short films, depicting an encounter between a young nurse and her patient.

The final choice was determined and announced by Academy Award-winner and L’Oréal Paris spokesperson Kate Winslet - the Award’s first Juror - during a special prize ceremony at the Jeune Cinéma dinner in Cannes on July 16. In recognition of her accomplishment, Aleksandra Odić will receive financial support of €30,000.

Kate Winslet says: “Aleksandra Odić’s short film, Frida, moved me to tears. The brave subtlety and sparse use of dialogue created an internal heartache that takes courage, skill, and a very delicate hand. I am confident that the Lights On Women Award will propel a new generation of female filmmakers forward in their careers, while also capturing unique and hugely relevant themes within the challenges of our world today.”

In addition to Odić, who took the top honour, the complete list of selected short film-makers also included:

  • Marija Apcevska (Serbia)
  • Carina-Gabriela Dașoveanu (Romania)
  • Natalia Durszewicz (Poland)
  • Huang Menglu (Japan)
  • Lina Kalcheva (United Kingdom)
  • Mya Kaplan (Israel)
  • Anna Podskalská (Czech Republic)
  • Tang Yi (Hong Kong)
  • Jasmin Tenucci (Brazil, Iceland)
  • Adèle Vincenti-Crasson (France)
Helen Mirren Lights On Women Award
Lights On Women Award: L'Oréal Paris Supports Promising Female Short Film Directors
L’Oréal Paris ambassadors explain why it is so important to encourage women in taking roles behind the camera. Listen to the words of Andie MacDowell, Nidhi Sunil, Helen Mirren, Liya Kebede, Gemma Chan, Camille Razat and Leïla Bekhti.

A striking and urgent need to correct gender imbalance within the film industry

The under-representation of women in film is a major issue within the creative industry, with only 10.7% female film directors in Hollywood as of 2019.
Moreover, only 21.3% of short films are directed by women; and only 7 women have ever been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards.

In light of these figures, the need to reduce bias and achieve greater gender balance is both striking and urgent.

“This exciting partnership with L’Oréal Paris represents a natural extension of the brand’s ongoing support for Cannes and the wider cinema community. The Lights On Women Award will offer a much-needed opportunity to honour a deserving creator and aligns with the broader commitment of the Short Films competition and international film schools’ short film programs to recognize the female talent of tomorrow.”

Thierry Frémaux, Director of the Festival international du film de Cannes

A unique recognition designed to drive creativity and empowerment

The winner of the inaugural Lights On Women Award will receive financial support of up to 30,000€. This unique recognition will also offer the winner a platform for increased visibility and will also gain access to a “sisterhood” of cinematic talent.

Actor Kate Winslet adds, “What an honour to preside as Juror over this remarkable recognition for women film-makers and to have an opportunity to celebrate such incredible talent. It is essential that we work together as a community to pursue gender parity within our industry and I am delighted to support the L’Oréal Paris family on this important initiative.”

Discover more about how we Support Women through our L'Oréal Fund for Women


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