Girls Supports Girls, the French film sorority launched by producer Vanessa Djian and publicist Karolyne Leibovici, made its debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival with the backing of Orange, in association with Kering. A flurry of French female talent, notably “Simone” actress Elsa Zylberstein and “Houria” director Mounia Meddour, took part in the networking luncheon which was hosted on the rooftop terrasse of Kering’s Women in Motion event at the Majestic hotel.
Djian, whose production banner Daïdaï Films recently became part of Newen Group, and Leibovici, the founder of A&K communication, launched Girls Supports Girls four years ago to connect and create opportunities for female producers, actresses, executives and diverse talent coming from the film, TV and media industries.
Previous events were organized in Paris, at the prestigious restaurant Le Fouquet’s, and during Canneseries in Cannes. Each event kicks off with guests standing up and introducing themselves. “It’s important to combat our fears of others to create a true sorority. We realized a few years ago that we needed an initiative like Girls Support Girls to help each other and create this female bond within an industry that tends to pit us against each other as rivals,” said Djian and Leibovici.
Besides Zylberstein and Meddour, the luncheon was attended by Scottie Thompson (“Murder at Yellowstone City”); Rosalie Miller (“Personhood”); Eliane Umuhire (“Augure”); Kristina Zimmermann, managing director at Orange Studio; Daniela Elstner, Unifrance managing director; Aïssa Diaby, director and founder of Ciné Nomade Afrique; agents Elisabeth Tanner and Alexandra Schamis; photographer Sylvie Castioni; producer Caroline Nataf; Marine Force, head of production at Gaumont; and Nathalie Toulza Madar, managing director at TF1 Films Production, among others.
Zylberstein, who is developing a raft of female-driven projects as a producer, said “It’s important to join forces, to develop projects that have a meaning, that empower women. Each woman is a heroine, whether she’s known or not.” She added that she wanted to “develop projects revolving women, including films and series, and tear down boundaries.” Zylbertstein also praised streamers for creating more opportunities for foreign actors. “The world is getting smaller and people are more open-minded. They also need to dream and that’s the power of cinema,” she continued.