Indigenous Canadian filmmaker asked to leave Cannes red carpet over traditional shoes

Kelvin Redvers was denied entry because he was wearing moccasins

Filmmaker Kelvin Redvers had travelled to Cannes with a delegation of indigenous filmmakers and was invited to the premiere of 'Les Amandiers' on May 22. Photo: Kelvin Redvers
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Indigenous Canadian filmmaker Kelvin Redvers was denied entry to the red carpet at the 75th Cannes Film Festival because he was wearing traditional moccasins, he told Canadian media on Saturday.

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."

Scroll through the gallery below to see the best styles from the Cannes Film Festival red carpets:

Redvers added that moccasins "are very much considered traditional and formal clothing" among many cultures in Canada.

The director had travelled 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.

The cast and crew of 'Forever Young (Les Amandiers)' attend a photocall during the 75th Cannes Film Festival on May 23. EPA

"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 apologised 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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Updated: May 29, 2022, 11:34 AM