Indigenous filmmaker Kelvin Redvers was denied entry to the red carpet at the 75th Cannes Film Festival because he was wearing traditional moccasins.
The director is a member of the Dene Indigenous community and grew up in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
“I 100 percent showed up expecting that this was within the realm of the things they [would] allow,” Redvers told Canadian media outlet Global News.
The Dene filmmaker said the moccasins were a “huge part of our culture”.
“They’re ceremonial, they can be quite special, so if you are going to have a kilt allowed for someone who is Scottish, the equivalent would be a pair of moccasins for someone who is Dene.”
The director 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 news outlets. He was only allowed to return once he changed his shoes.
Within hours of the incident, the filmmaker said he met with top festival officials who apologised and invited him to wear moccasins on the red carpet during the presentation of David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future last Monday.
“This was a really tough experience to live through. When it happened I really honestly couldn’t fully process it,” he posted on Facebook, noting the pair of traditional shoes he was wearing were made by his sister.
“I do hope things change in the future so wearing these is quite normal. The world needs more moccasins.”