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Cate Blanchett urges film industry to include refugee voices

“People who are displaced have a voice, they have a story,” said the Oscar-winning actor at a talk at the Cannes Film Festival.

Blanchett urged filmmakers to tell different stories
Blanchett urged filmmakers to tell different stories - Copyright AFP ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS
Blanchett urged filmmakers to tell different stories - Copyright AFP ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

Australian actor Cate Blanchett, goodwill ambassador for the UN agency for refugees, on Monday urged the film industry to take a leap and include their “incredible” stories.

“People who are displaced have a voice, they have a story,” said the Oscar-winning actor at a talk at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Their stories are so incredible and inspiring.”

Blanchett, who has met refugees as a UNHCR envoy since 2016, said 114 million people had been displaced around the world by violence and war.

“I’m always bewildered as to why more films don’t speak directly or obliquely to this,” she said.

“The more we exclude these voices from our narratives, the more we’re othering them.”

“So I would love to say to people, when they are thinking about directors they might work with or stories that they might be interested in… just make a list of people who don’t look like you, who haven’t had experiences like you, and see what stories you might like to tell,” she said.

“I think what happened with the old studio system is they started to tell the same stories made by the same people, the same crews, and it died.”

Blanchett, who is also a producer, said there was still work ahead.

“You can see it in meetings with streamers when you go to pitch a story and they go ‘Oh we loved it, we connected, we were so moved, but it’s not part of our mandate,'” she said.

“And you go ‘Are you a dickhead? You’ve got no other story like this on your slate. Don’t you want a dynamic slate?'”

Blanchett is in Cannes for the premiere out of competition of “Rumours”, in which the seven leaders of the world’s wealthiest liberal democracies get lost in the woods trying to draft a statement.

AFP
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