Canadian director Kelvin Redvers announced on Saturday that he was banned from appearing on the red carpet at the 75th Cannes Film Festival because he was wearing traditional moccasins, according to Canadian media.
“I grew up on my cultural foundations, and moccasins are very important in this regard,” the director, who is from a Dene “religious” Aboriginal community and grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories, told CBC Canada.
“I understand that there is a certain dress code on the red carpet, so I thought if I wore a tuxedo and a tie, and an Aboriginal one, that would be okay,” Redvers added.
He pointed out that “moccasin shoes are largely considered traditional and official clothing among members of many cultures in Canada.”
The director had traveled to France with a delegation of indigenous filmmakers and was invited to attend the premiere of “Les Amandiers” by Franco-Italian actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in May.
Redvers told major Canadian media that festival security officials prevented him from walking the red carpet and he was only allowed to return after changing his shoes.
“Back in Vancouver, BC, it’s hard to understand things like this,” he explained. “It caused me some sadness, and it still is when I think about it. I was disappointed. It pissed me off.”
The brown moccasins were made by Redvers’ sister, who said he was “excited to wear them at the most important moments of his life,” noting that “the more I put them on, the better I feel as I feel connected to the family and the roots of my faith group.”
Hours after the incident, the director confirmed that he had met with senior festival officials, who had apologized to him and invited him to wear these shoes on the red carpet during the screening of David Cronenberg’s movie “Crimes of the Future” the next day.
Redvers noted on Facebook that he “hopes the incident will help educate people around the world that Aboriginal cultural clothing is perfectly acceptable in formal settings such as the red carpet.”
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