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Kate Winslet On Being The First Juror For The Lights On Women Award

“It is incredibly important to empower female filmmakers.”

As the Cannes Film Festival forges forward with in-person events and celebrations of talent in film, L’Oréal Paris prepares to announce the recipient of the brands inaugural Lights On Women Award. The award was created by the brand in partnership with the Short Film competition of the Cannes Film Festival to highlight the work of and confront the underrepresentation of women filmmakers. The winner of the award will receive a cash prize of 30,000 euros in addition to increased visibility of their work. They will be chosen by new L’Oréal Paris spokesperson, Academy-Winner Kate Winslet. Winslet shared her thoughts on what awards like this can mean for gender equality in the film industry and her advice for women embarking on such careers.

You’re the inaugural juror of the Lights On Women Award!

It is an honor to play a part in supporting the opening of the Lights On Women Award, especially as the first ever juror. I have always admired L’Oréal Paris’ commitment to empowering women, and I am grateful they have entrusted me with this responsibility of choosing the award’s first recipient from an incredibly talented group of women directors. This is an important first step in a long-term commitment to celebrating a new generation of female directors and providing visibility to their work.


Why is gender equality in the film industry such an important issue?

I have witnessed an imbalance and lack of representation of women in key leadership roles—be it as a director or a producer—throughout my career. It is incredibly important to empower female filmmakers because their perspectives and stories can challenge stereotypes of women on-screen, which have for far too long been presented by men. Overall, paving the way for more women filmmakers opens the door for a more inclusive and diverse industry.


What are some key features you will be looking for when choosing the Lights On Women Award recipient?

In choosing the Lights On Women Award recipient, I have been looking for a director who demonstrates a compelling ability to tell a story—with a strong sense of the important visual and emotional elements to be able to support her scripted narrative. In addition, I am looking for passionate, diligent attention to detail and balanced use of these creative elements within the film: music, cinematography, and dialogue. So far, I have been incredibly impressed with the final selection of short films nominated for this award, making it all the more difficult to decide which filmmaker is the most deserving of this accolade. 


Do you have any advice for women embarking on careers in the film industry?

My personal mantra is “Commit or it’s sh--!” In order to accomplish anything in life, you have to fully dedicate yourself. A career in the film industry is no exception.


“Because you’re worth it” is L'Oréal Paris’ tagline (which is in it’s 50th anniversary). What is your personal interpretation of beauty? 

It’s a cliché, but I truly believe that beauty comes from within—from inner strength, self-confidence, and one’s innate sense of self. L’Oréal Paris has continuously reinforced that being your true self is more important than anything else. Yet sometimes we enjoy the emotional boost that a great lipstick can give us. “Because you’re worth it” celebrates women and their beauty at every age, but even more, it celebrates [women’s] worth and place in society. Now more than ever, as mental health and self-care are taken more seriously than perhaps in the past, women owe it to themselves to say those words and take ownership of the unique meaning that the words may hold for each person.



Photo Courtesy of L’Oréal Paris

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