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Indigenous Canadian Filmmaker Asked to Leave Cannes Red Carpet over Shoes

Indigenous Canadian Filmmaker Asked to Leave Cannes Red Carpet over Shoes

Tuesday, 31 May, 2022 - 10:00
Crew members install the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals ahead of the opening day of the 75th international film festival, Cannes. (AP)

Indigenous Canadian filmmaker Kelvin Redvers was denied entry to the red carpet at the 75th Cannes Film Festival because he was wearing traditional moccasins, according to Agence France Press (AFP). The director is a member of the Dene indigenous community and grew up in the Northwest Territories of Canada.


"I grew up around my culture on the land and moccasins are a big deal," he told CBC. "I understand that there are certain rules about dress code on the red carpet so I thought if I wore a tuxedo, a bow tie, and a piece that showed I was Indigenous, it would be accepted,” he said. Redvers added that moccasins are very much considered traditional and formal clothing among many cultures in Canada.


The director had traveled to France with a delegation of indigenous filmmakers and was invited to the premiere of "Les Amandiers" by French-Italian actor Valeria Bruni Tedeschi on May 22.


Festival security officials, however, barred him from the red carpet, Redvers told several major Canadian media outlets. He was only allowed to return once he had changed his shoes.


"It's kind of hard to process things like that. I was almost, and even now when I think about it, (it) kind of gets me a little upset. I was disappointed. I was angry," he explained upon his return to Vancouver, British Columbia.


The brown moccasins had been made by Redvers's sister, and he said he was "excited" to wear them at a significant moment in his life.


"Every time I wear them, it's the best feeling, to be connected to family and Dene roots," he said.


Within hours of the incident, the filmmaker said he met with top festival officials, who apologized and invited him to wear the shoes on the red carpet during the presentation of David Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future on Monday. Redvers said on Facebook that he hoped the incident would help spread the word around the world "that indigenous cultural wear is completely acceptable in formal settings like the red carpet."


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