Aboriginal filmmaker says he was denied Cannes red carpet because of his moccasins

David Friend, Canadian Media

Posted Saturday, May 28, 2022 at 2:46pm EST

Last updated Sat, May 28, 2022 3:28 PM EDT

TORONTO – A Dene filmmaker said he was “disappointed” and “almost in tears” when security at the Cannes Film Festival prevented him from walking the red carpet in a pair of moccasins.

Vancouver-based producer Kelvin Redvers, who attended Cannes as part of a delegation of six Aboriginal filmmakers, said last Sunday he was denied entry to Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s “Les” Amandiers’ carpet as festival staff disapprove of his traditional Aboriginal films. footwear.

He said he was only allowed to walk on the carpet if he swapped the moccasins for a pair of dress shoes that Cannes saw fit.

Redvers said yes, but said he hopes speaking out about his experience will make Cannes organizers rethink what formal attire looks like when it comes to representing different cultures on the red carpet.

“As long as there’s an opportunity — if there’s an awards ceremony or a special event — it’s really important for me to be able to bring in a little bit of my Dene heritage,” he said.

“My goal is to wear my suit and bow tie and my Dene moccasins, they’re formal, they’re cultured. They’re still a little classy and classy. I have no reason to believe they’re not red carpet. “

The Cannes Film Festival is notoriously strict about formal attire at many of its red carpet premieres – requiring a black tie for men and evening gowns for women – however some traditional formal attire is acceptable, such as a kilt and Indian sarees.

The festival used to outline some formal dress expectations on their website, but in recent years — after a string of controversies, including one over women wearing flats instead of heels — the official guidelines have all but disappeared online.

Ahead of Sunday’s screening, Redvers said he and other filmmakers gathered for a selfie in a tuxedo and moccasins. The group was in Cannes with support from the Office of Television Film, Indigenous Film and Capilano University’s FILMBA program before heading to the red carpet.

After passing the first security checkpoint, Redvers took off one of his street shoes and put on his moccasins. Just then, security guards at the second checkpoint stopped him.

Revers said Cannes red carpet officials at all levels were called in to assess the situation, while a French-speaking member of his gang tried to explain to security, “It’s cultural clothing, it’s traditional clothing. They just didn’t listen. arrive.”

“Eventually one security guard reached his limit,” Redvers said.

“He just changed, and then…immediately angrily asked me to leave, in a tone of aggressive anger, saying, ‘Leave, leave, you have to leave now.'”

Representatives for the festival did not respond to requests for comment.

After a heated moment, Redvers decided he still wanted to be in the screening, so he took off his moccasins and walked into the theater.

“I was disappointed, like in the movie it was actually distracting,” he said.

“I can’t stop thinking about not being allowed to represent my culture on the red carpet on this world stage.”

“I was almost in tears and very upset,” he added.

After members of the Television Films and Indigenous Film Office complained to Cannes about the treatment of filmmakers, Redvers said leadership agreed to meet with them and apologize for the negative experience.

“I think it was a productive meeting,” he said.

“It’s an education period because they just don’t understand what moccasins are and why they’re important. (They) just use them as slippers, which they said a few times.”

Cannes officials invited him to don his moccasins at the red carpet premiere of David Cronenberg’s “Future Crime” the following night. When a security guard rejected his shoes during that inspection, a superior staff member stepped in and put him on the carpet.

“That was probably the most satisfying moment of the festival,” he said.

“Being able to rock mocs on the red carpet.”

This report from the Canadian Press was first published on May 28, 2022.