L’Oréal Paris announces empowering new initiative

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.

Below, L’Oréal Paris global brand president, Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, tells us everything we need to know.

1. This year, L’Oréal Paris is launching the Lights on Women Award. Can you please tell us more about this?

The Lights On Women Award was created to honour female filmmakers, provide visibility to their work, and empower women in a male-dominated industry. The award will be given to one rising female filmmaker in partnership with the Short Films competition of the Cannes Film Festival.

The winner will be hand-picked from a selection of the Short Films competition and international film schools’ short film programs. The award recipient will be chosen and announced by Academy award-winner and L’Oréal Paris spokesperson, Kate Winslet – the award’s first juror – during a special award ceremony at the Jeune Cinema dinner in Cannes on July 16. 

2. What support will the winner of the award receive from L’Oréal Paris?

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.

3. Why was this award created?

Gender imbalance in the film industry – especially in roles behind the camera - has been a longstanding issue. In 2019, only 10.7% of film directors in Hollywood were women. Moreover, only 21.3% of short films are directed by women, and only seven women have ever been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards.

Our core mission with this award is to empower female filmmakers and bring visibility to their work. Through the Lights On Women Award, we hope to highlight the impressive work female filmmakers create and remove barriers, such as lack of funding or mentorship, that often inhibit women from excelling in this male-dominated sphere. 

We intentionally chose to award directors of short films because short films are renowned for reflecting the future of the film industry. Because of short films’ flexible format and relatively low barrier to entry at the Short Films Competition, this award is open to more nominees, expanding the opportunity for recognition.

4. What does this new award mean for L’Oréal Paris’ commitment to women empowerment?

L’Oréal Paris is a feminine and feminist brand. Women’s empowerment has always been at the core of L’Oréal Paris’ mission. The Lights On Women Award seeks to confront the massive underrepresentation of women in film.

This requires large-scale support, and I am proud to use our brand platform and resources to champion women filmmakers. With the help of the incredible female actors who represent L’Oréal Paris, I am confident that our commitment to female filmmakers is a first step towards creating lasting change against gender imbalance in the film industry.

5. What is L’Oréal Paris’ relation to cinema and the film industry?

Over the past 24 years, L’Oréal Paris has had a longstanding relationship with cinema and the film industry, most notably as an official partner of Cannes and as the official makeup artist of the Festival. We have always championed women, specifically in the world of film, through its relationship with female actors who represent the brand as spokespeople.

6. This year is the 50th anniversary of L’Oréal Paris’ “Because you’re worth it” slogan. How does this slogan resonate in the context of the brand’s presence at Cannes today?

The “Because you’re worth it” slogan was released in 1971 during a time when advertising for women was created by men, from men’s perspectives of how women should be. “Because you’re worth it” challenged this narrative because it was written from a female perspective, highlighting self-confidence and self-worth.

While progress has been made in many countries, women today – no matter where they are from – need to stay vigilant about asserting their place in society. “Because We’re Worth It” means empowering women, whatever their age, whatever their origin, to believe in their beauty, strength, and sense of worth.

It is a strong and inclusive statement that resonates here at Cannes, especially with the launch of the Lights On Women Award. We at L'Oréal Paris aim to provide visibility and empower the talented female directors present at Cannes; celebrating their creativity and talent in cinema, and championing women’s visibility in the cinema industry.