Security personnel turned away Canadian Indigenous filmmaker Kelvin Redvers at a red carpet screening at Cannes earlier this week.
Redvers, who is a member of the Dene nation, was wearing traditional moccasins to the black-tie only event.
“I was hoping to wear an example of something that would be formal for my culture, which was a beautiful pair of moccasins that were actually beaded by my sister,” the filmmaker said in an interview with Variety following the incident. “I was pretty excited to wear those.”
After receiving a formal complaint from Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office, Cannes representatives met with Redvers and invited him to attend the red carpet of David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future in the moccasins that had been previously disallowed.
“That was my favourite moment of my festival,” Redvers told Variety. “To walk in and get kicked out for a case of cultural wear, and the next day to have changed the understanding for myself and other people on the red carpet.”
However, Redvers has said the initial experience of being confronted by what he calls “fairly aggressive” security staff was belittling. “I was being treated like a criminal for just trying to wear my formal traditional wear,” he said of the incident at the prestigious French film festival.
This is not the film festival’s first controversy surrounding footwear. Kristen Stewart removed her Christian Louboutins on the red carpet in 2018 to protest the unspoken requirement that women wear high heels. Stewart entered the screening barefoot.