Women Take Grand Prize and Best Screenplay at Cannes 2024

The Cannes Film Festival, officially known as the Festival de Cannes, happened last week. Two of the biggest awards went to women: Payal Kapadia, who won the Grand Prix (the second-most prestigious award at the festival after the Palme d’Or), and Coralie Fargeat, who won Best Screenplay. 

Cannes is one of the most prestigious and renowned film festivals in the world. Founded in 1946, it is held annually in Cannes, France, and has grown into a defining event for the recognition of cinematic excellence and creativity. 

This year the Grand Prix (or Grand Prize) went to Payal Kapadia for her film All We Imagine As Light. Payal is an Indian filmmaker who has directed two feature-length films, both of which have made a splash at Cannes and in the film industry at large. Her first feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing, won Best Documentary at Cannes. Her Grand Prix-winner,  All We Imagine As Light, was the first Indian Film in 30 years to compete in the main section of Cannes. 

All We Imagine As Light is a drama about two nurses living in Mumbai who, each troubled by their own relationship, take a trip to a beach town, where they undergo a transformative and mystical experience in the forests. Kapadia’s direction is noted for its delicate yet profound exploration of the characters’ inner lives, and her narrative weaves together the personal lives of these women with broader social commentary, capturing the essence of contemporary Mumbai. The film received an eight-minute standing ovation at Cannes, and its win of the Grand Prix marked a historic achievement in Indian cinema. 

Click image to enlarge.

Coralie Fargeat won Best Screenplay for her film The Substance. Coralie is a French director and screenwriter best known for her 2017 debut feature, Revenge, which received awards from independent film festivals worldwide. The Substance is a feminist body horror film starring Demi Moore as a fading celebrity who injects herself with a “substance,” a black market drug which allows users to create a younger, more perfect version of themselves by replicating their cells. With Margaret Qualley as her younger alter-ego, this film explores the unexpected but horrific bodily consequences of this choice for both of them. The Substance, like All We Imagine As Light, received a long standing ovation, and its win of Best Screenplay solidified Coralie as a leading name in contemporary horror. 

It is always exciting to see women on the winners list at Cannes, especially for such prestigious awards as these. Payal Kapadia’s win must also not be underestimated for its historical significance for Indian filmmakers and Indian women filmmakers especially. Congratulations to all of the women winners at Cannes this year, and especially to Coralie Fargeat and Payal Kapadia! 

© Julia Lasker (6/5/24) – Special for FF2 Media


Check out more from this year’s Cannes Film Festival on their website.

Watch a teaser trailer for The Substance.

Watch the trailer for All We Imagine as Light.


Featured photo: Payal Kapadia poses with the Grand Prix Award for All We Imagine As Light during the Palme D’Or Winners Photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 25, 2024 in Cannes, France. Photo by David Niviere/Abacapress.com. Image credit: Abaca Press/Alamy Live News. Image ID: 2X8HMPH.

Middle photo: Demi Moore stars in ‘The Substance’ directed by Coralie Fargeat. Image credit: BFA/Mubi. Image ID: 2X80BA8.

Bottom photo: Coralie Fargeat poses with the Best Screenplay award for ‘The Substance’ during the Palme D’Or Winners Photocall at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 25, 2024 in Cannes, France. Image credit: CAP/GOL ©GOL/Capital Pictures. Image ID: 2X8K619.

Tags: All We Imagine as Light, Cannes, Cannes 2024, Cannes Film Festival, Coralie Fargeat, Demi Moore, France, Julia Lasker, Margaret Qualley, Payal Kapadia, The Substance

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As an associate for FF2 Media, Julia writes reviews and features for films made by women. She is currently a senior at Barnard College studying Psychology. Outside of FF2, her interests include acting, creative writing, thrift shopping, crafting, and making and eating baked goods. Julia has been at FF2 for almost 4 years, and loves the company and its mission dearly.
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