The 17th Marrakech International Film Festival kicked off on Friday.At a press conference on Saturday German actor Daniel Bruhl explained that the jury is “very interested to see fresh voices” in the fourteen films competing for the festival’s Etoile d’Or (Golden Star) prize.Asked about gender equality in the film industry, a topic broached at film festivals from Cannes to Venice, Fifty Shades star Dakota Johnson said, “There were almost as many women involved in cinema behind the camera, in front of the camera, behind film festivals and in film festivals.” Johnson continued by applauding the Marrakech International Film Festival for having more women than men on the jury panel. “This jury happens to have more women and perhaps there might be an avenue for this to occur more often in the future, and I think that’s awesome.”Women’s roles and treatment in the cinema industry is improving. Film narratives are changing as “there are lots of different films and roles that do great business at the box office with women in lead roles,” said Indian actress Ileana D’Cruz.The FIFM celebrates the achievement and talent of women in film this year with six films directed by women nominated among the 14 films competing for the Etoile D’or. The female directors include Alejandra Marquez Abella, Sudabeh Mortezai, Lila Aviles, Sayaka Kai, Nadejda Koseva, and Eva Trobisch.The second day of the festival offered screenings of two motion pictures with women in leading roles: Alejandra Marquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” and Sudabeh Mortezai’s “Joy.” “The Good Girls” shines a crystalline light on upper-class women facing social decay during Mexico’s 1982 economic crisis. Sudabeh Mortezai’s “Joy,” winner of Best Film at BFI London Film Festival, sheds light on women from a different spectrum in society. The drama tackles sex trafficking issues among Nigerian migrant sex workers.Many stars turned up on the red carpet for the event: Kevin Dillon from Oliver Stone’s “Platoon,” Laurence Fishburne from “The Matrix,” “Burnout” director Noureddine Lakhmari, and the godfather of cinema himself, Robert De Niro. FIFM paid homage to Robert De Niro, awarding him the Etoile D’or Saturday evening for his immense body of work. Academy award winner and De Niro’s lifetime friend Martin Scorsese presented the award to De Niro.