Cate Blanchett calls out governments for ‘demonizing’ asylum seekers at Cannes

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Australian actress and film producer Cate Blanchett has called out governments for “demonizing” asylum seekers as she announced the launch of a fund for refugee filmmakers, in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya English’s Hadley Gamble at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

“Many displaced artists have so much to say,” Blanchett said, adding that it is extremely difficult for them to even access health services, “let alone make those connections with the often-impenetrable aspects of the industry.”

Blanchett also called out the “inhumane policies by governments around the world” for migrants and asylum seekers as she spoke of her six-part series “Stateless” about the Australian government’s mandatory detention program.

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The award-winning actress, also an UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador since 2015, revealed she is starting a fund for refugee filmmakers who face “impediments” to tell their stories.

Cate Blanchett poses on the red carpet during arrivals for the screening of the film "The Apprentice" in competition at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 20, 2024. (Reuters)
Cate Blanchett poses on the red carpet during arrivals for the screening of the film "The Apprentice" in competition at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 20, 2024. (Reuters)

Blanchett was also seen wearing a Palestinian-flag inspired dress at the Cannes red carpet for the premiere of the Donald Trump biopic, The Apprentice, in a move that is widely being interpreted as a subtle show of solidarity with Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war that has killed over 35,000 Palestinians and displaced million others.

The Hollywood star has been vocal on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. In November last year, Blanchett called for a ceasefire in Gaza in an address at the European Parliament.

Blanchett was also among the 55 Hollywood signatories who signed an open letter to US President Joe Biden, urging for a ceasefire in the war-hit territory in October.

Emphasizing on the issue of displaced people, Blanchett told Gamble; “Of course art is not going to solve the issue of displacement,” but her platform is “probably the best thing” she can offer to tell the stories that need telling.

“While we wait for political solutions, we have to make sure that our empathy is not destroyed and eradicated,” she said.

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