- Industry report says women turned away for wearing flats
- Festival has been hit for giving short shrift to women filmmakers
- Festival sends mixed signals on whether heels are required
(CNN)The Cannes Film Festival has a message for women: no heels, no entry.
So reports ScreenDaily, the online version of the industry magazine Screen International. It said that "a handful of women in their 50s" was turned away from the screening of the movie "Carol," directed by Todd Haynes, because they were not wearing high heels.
According to the website, "multiple guests, some older with medical conditions, were denied access to the anticipated world premiere screening for wearing rhinestone flats."
Organizers criticized for lack of women filmmakers
Organizers of the festival have been trying to put their best foot forward, in public relations terms. They had been criticized in the past for the dearth of women filmmakers invited to present their work at the competition, which takes place in the ritzy city of Cannes, on the French Riviera.
This year, women directors and producers have been featured.
But the controversy over heels -- dubbed "flatgate" by The Hollywood Reporter -- would seem to represent a step backward.
The timing was all the more awkward because the film "Carol," a lesbian romance, has been praised for its theme, its predominately female cast and its female producers.
Festival sends mixed signals on policy
The festival is a traditional showplace for filmdom's glitterati. Much of the emphasis is on glamor and flashbulbs.
The misstep seemed to be magnified by mixed signals coming from the festival as it struggled to find its footing. ScreenDaily reported, "The festival declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high heels to red-carpet screenings."
But the festival's director tweeted in French that "the rumor" the festival required high heels for women was "unfounded."