CANNES • The #MeToo campaign for sexual equality will have "no direct impact" on who wins at the Cannes Film Festival, said actress Cate Blanchett, head of this year's majority-female jury.
Of the 21 entries vying for the top Palme d'Or, only three are directed by women.
When asked on Tuesday whether she was concerned over this small number, Blanchett said: "A few years ago, there were only two. Is (#MeToo) going to have a direct impact on the films in competition this year... six, nine months on?
"Not specifically. There are several women in competition, but they are not there because of their gender. They are there for the quality of their work."
She added: "Would I like to see more women in competition? Absolutely. Do I expect and hope that's going to happen in the future? I hope so."
She also spoke about Iranian Jafar Panahi, who is unable to attend the festival as he is banned from film-making by his government, and director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is under house arrest in Russia on charges his supporters said are politically motivated.
Blanchett, who called their plight "a terrible situation", was asked if that would alter the way their movies are judged.
"It's not a political film festival," she replied, insisting that all films will be judged solely on their artistic merits. "This is not the Nobel Peace Prize, it's the Palme d'Or."