British film-maker claims she was denied access to March du Film, then told to pay fee for baby and wait two days for it to be processed

Cannes festival

The Cannes film festival has been criticised for its treatment of mothers and babies after a female director claimed she and her child were prevented from entering the festival site.

British director Greta Bellamacina, whose film Hurt By Paradise is screening in the market section of the festival, said the festival had displayed an outrageous attitude after she attempted to enter the festival with her four-month son.

Im outraged at the absurdity of this backwards attitude, Bellamacina said in a statement. As if female film-makers needed further obstacles to equality in our industry.

According to Bellamacina, the festival initially refused her child entry to the site. After much stressful debate she and her child were allowed into the accreditation area, though she says she was told that her buggy would have to be sent through a different entrance. Bellamacina says she was then told that her child would require a delegates pass, costing 300 (260). After she offered to pay the fee, she was told that it would take 48 hours to process her request and was asked to leave the site.

The incident comes in the wake of the introduction of a new initiative, announced by the Cannes film festival and March du Film, its business counterpart, in April, and intended to make it easier for those with young children to attend the festival. Created in conjunction with the Parenting at Film Festivals group, a support network and lobby group set up to help parents in the film industry whose roles necessitate large amounts of travel, Le Ballon Rouge offers additional passes for a nanny and baby, as well as a breast-feeding and baby-changing room, easy access for young children and strollers, and a dedicated childrens area.

It is unclear why Bellamacina would not have been offered an additional pass for her son under the terms of the initiative. The Cannes organisers said they were seeking more information on the incident.

Ironically, my film is about a young single mother trying to balance her life as a writer, Bellamacina added. She is treated quite patronisingly in some scenes in the film, but never as rudely as I was treated as a mother at the film festival today.

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