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Seven women to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival

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Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania makes her Cannes main competition debut with the doc-drama "Olfa's Daughters"
Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania makes her Cannes main competition debut with the doc-drama "Olfa's Daughters"

A record seven female directors are set to compete for the top prize – a 32% representativity of the overall competition lineup featuring 21 films chasing a Palme d’Or at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Although the number is still shy from the gender parity pledge signed by the organisers of the festival a few editions ago, in 2018, the number of films directed by women shortened for the event this year marks a significant improvement when compared to 2010 when out of 19 films eligible for the prize, not a single one was directed by a woman; Or 2012 when out of 22 productions shortlisted for the Festival de Cannes’s most prestigious award, the Palme d’Or, there were no female directing any of them.

The lineup for the Cannes Film Festival in 2023 features both esteemed filmmakers and returning talents. Among them are Italian film director Alice Rohrwacher, presenting her fourth film, “La Chimera,” and Austrian film director and screenwriter Jessica Hausner, showcasing her fifth Cannes premiere with “Club Zero.” Tunisian film director Kaouther Ben Hania makes her main competition debut with the doc-drama “Olfa’s Daughters” after previously screening in Un Certain Regard. And French filmmaker and novelist Catherine Breillat makes a return to filmmaking after a decade with “Last Summer,” her first Cannes film since 2007.  French film director and screenwriter Justine Triet, another regular at the festival, presents “Anatomy of a Fall.” Additionally, Ramata-Toulaye Sy, a Senegalese film director and screenwriter, debuts her feature film “Banel Et Adama” as part of the main competition lineup. Sy’s film, featuring the story of a young married couple living in a remote village in northern Senegal about to clash with their community’s customs is set to premiere at the Grand Théâtre Lumière on Saturday, May 20.

Only two female filmmakers have ever won the Palme d’Or since 1946 when the Cannes Film Festival premiered: New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion in 1993 for “The Piano” and French film director Julia Ducournau in 2021 for “Titane.” 

Cannes Film Festival runs until 27 May. The event kicked off last night in the French Riviera with “Jeanne du Barry”, directed by and starring French actress Maïwenn in the title role, opposite Golden Globe Award winner Johnny Depp as Louis XV.

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Model-turned-comedian to star in BBC fashion drama

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Model-turned-comedian to star in BBC fashion drama
Written, created by and starring British actor Michelle De Swarte, Spent launches this Summer

A new six-part comedy-drama created by and starring Michelle De Swarte (The Baby, The Duchess) will premiere this summer on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

‘Spent’ is produced by BAFTA award-winning production company Various Artists Ltd. (Juice, I May Destroy You, Such Brave Girls, Sally4Ever). It is part-inspired by Swarte’s own experiences of the modelling industry and the trials and tribulations that come along with it. Michelle de Swarte stars as Mia, a former catwalk model who is on the run, mainly from herself. Long term it’s a story of personal renewal but for now, the stark reality is that her career is over, she’s flat broke and she’s homeless.

Alongside Swarte, the series stars Juliette Cowan, Amanda Wilkin, Matt King, Jamali Maddix, Karl Collins, Eleanor Nawal and Rachel Ofori.

Born in South London, Michelle De Swarte was scouted at 19 whilst working in Segaworld in the Trocedero Centre at Picadilly Circus. Soon after, Swarte moved to New York where she worked for major major fashion houses round the world including Burberry, Missoni, Tommy Hilfiger, Cartier, and Michael Kors. However, Swarte’s career as a runway model stopped abruptly and she moved back to London with nothing to show for her time in the fashion industry. Having to re-evaluate her career, Swarte transitioned to stand-up comedy and acting where she has starred as a series regular in Katherine Ryan’s series The Duchess for Netflix and had her first leading role in Sky/HBO’s The Baby.

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UK Police officer who ran down cow removed from duties

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UK Police officer who ran down cow removed from duties
The incident took place on Friday on a residential street in Staines-upon-Thames, UK at around 9pm

An officer who was driving a response police car to ram an escaped cow twice has been removed from frontline duties, Surrey Police has confirmed in a statement released on Sunday, June 16th.

The incident took place on Friday on a residential street in Staines-upon-Thames, UK, at around 9pm, where the animal was hit in front of members of the public.

“I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it is thoroughly and diligently investigated. In addition to an internal referral to our Professional Standards Department, we have also referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for independent consideration,” said Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp.

“At this time, the officer who was driving the police car has been removed from frontline duties pending the outcome of these investigations.

“I know there is much concern around the current welfare of the cow. She is now back with her owner and recuperating with her herd. She did sustain a large cut to one leg and cuts and grazes. She continues to be monitored by a vet and our rural officers are staying in contact with the owner for updates.

“I can confirm that on the night, efforts were made to contact local vets without success and efforts were simultaneously being made to identify the owner.  Why these were unsuccessful and what more could and should have been done will form a key part of the investigation.

“As well as our overriding duty to protect the public, the welfare of animals is important to us and we know people want answers about how this happened and what led up to it. I am committed to ensuring that we have a full understanding of what took place and why, and we will fully support any investigation. I have also briefed the Home Office on what action we are taking and we are liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.  

 “We will continue to provide both our local communities and the wider public with updates as investigations into this matter continue”.

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Appetite for Ozempic boost Novo Nordisk brand value up 59%

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A woman checks her toned image in a mirror
Novo Nordisk emerges as Denmark’s second most valuable and second fastest-growing brand | Photo: Szabolcs Toth

Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company producing semaglutide drugs Ozempic and Wegovy which are in high demand for weight loss, is now Denmark’s second most valuable brand according to new data from Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Second only to LEGO, Novo Nordisk is valued at DKK35.4 billion, up 59%. Now also Denmark’s second-fastest growing brand, Novo Nordisk has surpassed  LVMH to become Europe’s most valuable company by market cap.

LEGO is Denmark’s most valuable brand for the ninth consecutive year, with a 3% brand value increase to DKK55.2 billion. With an AAA Brand Strength Index (BSI) rating, LEGO also remains Denmark’s strongest brand, underscoring decades of built-up brand equity and enduing nostalgia, demonstrated by excellent scores for familiarity, satisfaction, and consideration.

Tryg is Denmark’s fastest-growing brand, up 62% to DKK11.0 billion. Brand Finance data shows the brand is well-known and highly reputable across Denmark.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented:

“The massive and unrelenting demand for semaglutide has led to Wegovy and Ozempic supply shortages while also dramatically raising brand awareness for Novo Nordisk. With projected sales growth of 19-24% for 2024, the pharmaceutical company must expand production while strategically positioning its brand to stay ahead of emerging competitors. If Novo Nordisk manages its brand well while successfully meeting demand for its products, it could surpass LEGO in the 2025 rankings, blocking LEGO from a decade-long reign as Denmark’s most valuable brand.”

Vestas, Danfoss, and ROCKWOOL are Denmark’s strongest industrial brands. Vestas (brand value up 6% to DKK23.9 billion), the strongest industrial brand with a BSI score of 82.4 out of 100 and an AAA- rating, notes high scores across several brand strength metrics, including reputation and promotion. Danfoss (brand value up 10% to DKK12.4 billion) ranks second, with an AA+ rating. ROCKWOOL (brand value DKK3.6 billion) maintains an AA+ rating and ranks as Denmark’s third strongest industrial brand, boasting a BSI score of 75.3 out of 100. ROCKWOOL performs well across brand strength metrics, such as promotion and its ability to command a price premium.

As part of its brand valuations, Brand Finance analyses the contribution of sustainability on overarching brand value. Brand Finance quantifies brands’ sustainability perceptions in its Sustainability Perceptions Index. According to Brand Finance research, Vestas is recognised as the most sustainable Danish industrial brand across the environmental and social dimensions of ESG (environmental, social, and governance). ROCKWOOL ranked second across all three ESG dimensions among Danish industrial brands, attributed to its commitment to climate resilience and sustainability.

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