As part of the ‘Women in Motion’ program, designed to highlight and celebrate the contribution of women to cinema, and on the occasion of the Presidential Dinner which took place on Sunday 15 May, Kering and the Festival de Cannes celebrated the exceptional careers and the commitment to both the film industry and the women’s cause of the Academy Award-winner American actress Geena Davis, and the Academy Award and BAFTA Award-winner American actress Susan Sarandon. The ‘Women in Motion’ Award ceremony brought together Thelma & Louise’s iconic lead actresses on the year of the 25th anniversary of the cult film.

Geena Davis

Geena Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College. In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist. She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performances as Thelma in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise. Davis went to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her work in A League of Their Own. Other credits include iconic films such as Tootsie, The Fly, Beetlejuice The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Stuart Little. In 2012, she was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She is an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. Davis is also the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. In 2015, Davis launched the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF), an unprecedented initiative in support of women and diversity in the entertainment industry and serves as its Co-Founder and Chair. BFF provides a platform to significantly boost the commercial value of content produced and starring minorities and women. Davis is also the Founder and Chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is successfully influencing film and television content creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters – and reduce gender stereotyping – in media targeting children 11 and under.

Susan Sarandon

American film actress Susan Sarandon made her acting debut in 1970 in the film Joe, and later went on to star in the cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in 1975. She won an Academy Award for her performance in Dead Man Walking, and received Oscar nominations for her roles in Atlantic City, Thelma & Louise, Lorenzo’s Oil, and The Client. She also won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Client. On television, she is a five-time Emmy Award nominee, including for her guest roles in Friends, Malcolm in the Middle, Bernard and Doris, and You Don’t Know Jack. She is currently starring in The Meddler (Sony Classics) with Rose Byrne and JK Simmons.
As an activist, Sarandon has dedicated much of her time to fighting hunger, promoting women’s issues and is currently working to help address the refugee crisis.

Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon granted the ‘Women in Motion’ young talent Award to directors Leyla Boujid, Gaya Jiji and Ida Panahandeh.

Leyla Bouzid

Leyla Bouzid grew up in Tunis, where she was born in 1984. She moved to Paris in 2003 to study French literature at La Sorbonne and then joined the renown La Fémis Film School, in the Directing specialty. She directed SOUBRESAUTS, her film project for La Fémis in Tunis, a few months before the revolution. She then chose to shoot ZAKARIA in the south of France with amateur comedians. Both shorts were acclaimed at film festivals.
In 2015, she directed A PEINE J’OUVRE LES YEUX, her first feature film. Shot in Tunis, the film received two Awards at the Venice Film Festival, Venice Days section. Since then, the film has received over 20 awards in film festivals around the globle: Toronto, Dubai, Pusan, Rotterdam, Carthage, Namur, Tribeca, San Francisco… In theaters, A PEINE J’OUVRE LES YEUX was very well received by the critics and audience alike.
Gaya Jiji

Gaya Jiji is a Syrian filmmaker. Born in Damas in 1979, Jiji lives and works in Paris. She holds a Masters Degree in Cinema from the Saint-Denis, Paris 8 University. Gaya Jiji has directed three shorts. The most recent one, MATIN, MIDI, SOIR…ET MATIN (19’, 2011), has been nominated at numerous film festivals worldwide such as the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, in Tokyo, the Doha Tribeca Film Festival or the Arabic Film Festival in Rotterdam. Since 2012, Gaya Jiji has been working on the scenario of her first feature film, MON TISSU PREFERE. The project was part of La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde at the 2014 Festival de Cannes, Dubai Film Connexion, at Dubai Film Festival in 2015, Meetings on the Bridge, at Istanbul Film Festival in 2016. It is also part of the 69th Festival de Cannes “Atelier Cinéfondation”. MON TISSU PREFERE has received support from the Amiens Film Festival Development Program in 2013 and more recently from the CNC’s Aide aux cinemas du monde, in July 2015.

Ida Panahandeh

Ida Panahandeh is an Iranian film director. In 1999, she wrote and directed her first short film THE TRAIN STATION. In 2004, she wrote and directed TAXONOMY, screened at the 9th Tehran International Short Film Festival in National Competition. In 2005, she won the prize of the Best Short Film in 10th Tehran International Short Film Festival for THOSE HANDS, also screened at Vienna Independent Shorts. In 2009, she participated in Berlinale Talent Campus. In 2012, she wrote and directed THE LOST HONOR OF MR. SADEGHI (TV Movie), and won Best Film script (with Arsalan Amiri) from the First Tehran Video Film Festival. In 2015, Panahandeh wrote and directed NAHID, and won five prizes among Prize of the Promising Future at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard). The same year, she was nominated for Golden Camera Prize and Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes Film Festival.

The dinner was presented by the renowned French chef, Anne-Sophie Pic, the only 3-starred woman in France, known for her seek for complex flavour combinations and powerful tastes.