Gilles Jacob joined the Cannes Film Festival as its general delegate in 1977 and assumed the presidency in 2001. Now 83 years old, the prolific critic, author and director says he will step down in 2015. In an interview to be published this weekend, Jacob tells southern France newspaper Nice-Matin, “I’ve promised my wife several times that I would stop. This time, I’m going to do it.” Over the past 12 years, Jacob has taken on something of a figurehead role with the fest’s executive and artistic director Thierry Frémaux handling the official selection since 2001 as well as other managerial duties. But Jacob is a Cannes fixture who has long been a symbol of the festival. Over his nearly 40 years with the event, he has been responsible for such innovations as the Camera d’Or prize which goes to a first time filmmaker, and for the Un Certain Regard sidebar which runs concurrently with the Competition. He also stands alongside Frémaux at the top of the red-carpeted steps welcoming guests to every Competition screening during the festival’s ten day run. He has documented the festival in documentary and short films that include 2012′s Cannes anniversary movie A Special Day. His latest book, Les Pas Perdus, was published in France on April 24.
Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby will kick off the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 15, organizers said today. The Warner Bros drama will screen in the out-of-competition selection. The latest adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke. It opens in the U.S. on May 10 but day-and-date with its May 15 Cannes launch in France.
This was basically a no-brainer decision. Luhrmann is a favorite of the festival, and his 2001 musical drama Moulin Rouge still remains one of the splashiest opening nights in Cannes history with an elaborate, very expensive party thrown by distributor 20th Century Fox afterward. Those who were there (I was among them) will not soon forget the extragance of it all, and certainly if any other movie might deserve the same opulent treatment it is Luhrmann’s Gatsby, which was delayed from an awards-season opening in 2012 by Warner Bros so the director could continue to refine the ambitious film. Whether the studio will spring for a kickoff like a party Jay Gatsby himself might throw remains an open question, especially since it won’t be the world premiere of the film, but nevertheless it is worth the speculation.
Exhibitors actually got their first look at the 3D drama almost a full year ago when Warners previewed footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas as part of their 2012 slate sneak look. After it was delayed by the studio into a 2013 debut, a Cannes opening seemed inevitable, particularly with the prospect of getting big star names like DiCaprio, Maguire and Mulligan to come to the Croisette for a glamorous European premiere.
Steven Spielberg will head this year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, festival organizers announced Thursday morning local time in Paris. The director has been a festival regular but most of his movies have screened out of competition. His 1974 Sugarland Express won the prize for best screenplay. “It is an honor and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world,” Spielberg said in a statement. Cannes officials said Spielberg’s work cuts across a broad spectrum “between entertainment films and serious reflections on history, racism and the human condition”. Fest chief Thierry Frémaux added “We are very proud to count him among us.” Spielberg follows Italy’s Nanni Morettii who headed the jury last year. The news comes three days after Spielberg’s latest historic epic Lincoln was overtaken by Ben Affleck’s Argo in the Best Picture category at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony and Ang Lee took the prize for Best Director for Life Of Pi. Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor for Lincoln and Rick Carter and Jim Erickson took home the Oscar for production design. As previously announced, Jane Campion is serving as president of the Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury. This year’s fest runs May 15 through May 26.
Buying is already getting underway in Cannes with films acquired on the eve and first day of the market. There is a lot of quality product out there and many distributors with already packed slates are eager not to miss an opportunity. Execs are calling it a buyer’s market, but one important company may be sitting this one out. Here’s a look at some key players in town this year:
The Weinstein Company: Harvey Weinstein often sets the pace of the market here in Cannes. When he spends, everybody else seems to also. If that holds true this year, it will mean vibrant activity on the Croisette. On the eve of this year’s Cannes, The Weinstein Co announced it had picked up Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires, the Australian feel-good film that’s screening in official selection. They’re also close to a deal on hunt for Bin Laden pic Code Name Geronimo. The company has 2 pictures in the competition, Lawless, which it acquired last year (when it was still called The Wettest County In The World), and Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly (which also used to go by a different name, Cogan’s Trade). The timing of the Sapphires announcement is reminiscent of the Weinsteins’ pick-up of The Artist last year. TWC has a packed roster for 2012, but COO David Glasser tells me, “Last year we had a busy slate going into the market and we ended up buying. We’ll buy for this year if the picture is there, but we also have a keen eye for 2013.” Last year, TWC’s deal on The Artist came after the company already had Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master in its pocket, but that didn’t stop pick-ups of The Iron Lady and Lawless. “We’re as aggressive as the product allows us to be,” says Glasser. TWC also has August Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts and David O Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook coming up.
Related: Cannes 2012: Producers To Watch
Lionsgate: Patrick Wachsberger is looking ahead to 2014. The takeover of Summit by Lionsgate which was announced in January has had the international biz concerned the consolidation would eliminate an important supplier of product as well as an important US partner. Wachsberger tells me at Cannes he doesn’t think “we’re up to a lot and the why of it is we have something like 18 movies to release. So, frankly, we have no need for product. Of course if there’s something really great, we’ll go for it.” The ‘new’ Lionsgate also recently greenlighted a handful of movies that includes sequel RED 2, the Dirty Dancing remake and has Hunger Games follow-up Catching Fire which is finalizing deals in the remaining foreign territories. Wachsberger says that the influx of new sales companies with such a variety of product leads him to wonder where the films are going to go domestically. “There’s not that many companies. We might have great opportunities of picking up movies that we like, but buyers are going to be able to tell distributors they’re going to have to put up their own P&A. For us and the other domestic distributors it’s gonna be fantastic.” He adds that for 2014, “we definitely need product. We’re loaded for 2012 and I don’t think we have any room left for 2013, but you always find room for something great.”
Related: Cannes 2012: Directors To Watch
The past year has seen the emergence of producers from varied backgrounds who are working on high-profile projects with major talent. This year in Cannes, a constantly heard refrain is that there is an abundance of quality product. Below are some of the key producers responsible:
Megan Ellison: The daughter of Oracle founder Larry Ellison has deep pockets and good taste that have put her at the forefront of today’s hot producers via her Annapurna Pictures. She’s also respected for what one distributor says is her “strategy of working only with strong directors.” Of the official selection films in Cannes, she produced John Hillcoat’s Lawless. Last year at Cannes, she won a bidding war for the rights to make 2 more Terminator installments. On her upcoming roster are Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt for Bin Laden pic, being sold by the sales company she’s backing, Panorama Media. There’s also Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths (sold by Hanway), Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming The Master, which the Weinsteins have and Inherent Vice starring Robert Downey Jr as well as Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum and also via Panorama. Deadline also recently reported a big deal is in the works for Ellison and Annapurna to fully fund American Bullshit, the drama that has David O Russell attached to direct, with Christian Bale also attached and Bradley Cooper in talks.
Red Granite: When Red Granite Pictures launched its international sales division in Cannes last year, they did so in style. You can tell a lot about a company from the way it throws a party and Red Granite’s last year is one people still talk about. Kanye West performed with Jamie Foxx joining him to duet on Gold Digger while Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt rocked out on the beach. In 2011, Red Granite’s first production, Westfeldt’s Friends With Kids, was released and the company has steadily been building its roster of impressive product including Wolf Of Wall Street with DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese and Out Of The Furnace starring Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana and Casey Affleck which Scott Cooper is directing. Red Granite is also selling those pictures. Exec Joe Gatta tells me the company’s vision is to “make quality movies first and foremost. It’s a tough business; we have a lot of competition and we want to stand out as a company that’s getting the movies made.” Gatta says Red Granite wants to “grow, but grow steadily.” That could “in the future” include distribution, but the company will definitely grow its sales division under Danny Dimbort, the former Millennium/Nu Image partner who Gatta calls “the best in the business.” The goal for Red Granite is to be doing 3-5 productions per year with some third party pick-ups in the mix.
Cannes has a mix of newcomers and veterans this year. While no first-time directors are in the main competition, some relatively young veterans are returning after a long absence and notable debut helmers can be found in other sections. Below is a selection of directors to keep an eye on:
Nabil Ayouch: The French-born director who’s of Moroccan descent had a fest-circuit hit with his second feature Ali Zoua back in 2000. Lately, he’s focused on producing for television with his last feature as director 2007’s Whatever Lola Wants. God’s Horses, Ayouch’s Un Certain Regard entry this year, is being compared to Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 breakout. “It’s the new City Of God,” says an exec. God’s Horses is inspired by the terrorist attacks of May 16th 2003 in Casablanca.
Wayne Blair: Blair’s The Sapphires had been building buzz for several months and was acquired by The Weinstein Co on the eve of this fest. One of the vanguard of Aboriginal Australian filmmakers, he has a storied background. Not only did he play professional soccer in Oz, he’s also been a TV director and a stage actor (in 2010 he starred in a Phillip Seymour Hoffman-directed stage version of True West in Sydney). His first outing as a filmmaker, 2005 short The Djarn DJarns, netted him the Crystal Bear prize in the Kinderfilmfest section of Berlin. The Sapphires is his first …
Last year, silence truly was golden as the cast of The Artist established themselves as the hit of the festival without having to say, or bark, anything. Below is a rundown of the actors folks are buzzing about this year, out loud:
Matthias Schoenaerts: The star of Belgian hit Bullhead leads Jacques Audiard’s Rust And Bone opposite Marion Cotillard in competition. Schoenaerts has been known at home for a while but Michael R. Roskam’s revenge drama Bullhead, which scored an Oscar nomination, also brought Schoenaerts the FIPRESCI prize for Best Actor in Palm Springs in January. Audiard is a star-maker, having helped Tahar Rahim hit with A Prophet and boosting the international career of Romain Duris with 2005’s The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Execs unrelated to the film call Schoenaerts’ performance in Rust & Bone “incredible.”
Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward: The kids at the center of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom are something to be seen. At Wednesday’s press conference, Jared Gilman confirmed that since making the film “life has taken a turn for the better.” Moonrise is the sole credit on both Gilman and Hayward’s resumes, for now. In the film, the duo fall in love and run away together setting off a search during a storm that turns the community upside down. Focus Features’ Alison Thompson tells me Anderson found them after an extensive search …
It wouldn’t be Cannes without a little controversy. Four days before the event kicks off, French Feminist organization La Barbe (The Beard) has published an editorial in today’s Le Monde that laments the lack of women in the main competition. Among the signatories are Coline Serreau, director of the original French version of Three Men And A Baby, and Virginie Despentes, who directed 2000’s controversial Baise Moi. Last year saw a record 4 women in competition, including France’s Maïwenn who won the Grand Prize for Polisse. This year: 0. (Jane Campion is the only woman to ever win a Palme d’Or; that was in 1993.) The editorial reads in part: “Cannes 2012 allows Wes, Jacques, Leos, David Lee, Andrew, Matteo, Michael, John, Hong Im, Abbas, Ken, Sergei, Cristian, Yousry, Jeff, Alain, Carlos, Walter Ulrich, Thomas to show once again that men love depth in women, but only in their cleavage.” Cannes general delegate Thierry Frémaux responded to the editorial saying the festival will never choose a film “that doesn’t deserve it just because it’s directed by a woman.” He added that he agrees women should
After Bong Joon-Ho, Gael García Bernal, Roschdy Zem and Abbas Kiarostami, the demanding task of selecting the best new filmmaker this year falls to Carlos Diegues. The Caméra d’or, launched in 1978, is awarded to the best first film presented in the Official Selection (Competition, Out of Competition and Un Certain Regard), La Semaine de la Critique or Directors’ Fortnight – a total of 22 films in 2012. He will be accompanied in this task by Gloria Satta, journalist with Italy’s Il Messaggero, Rémy Chevrin, representing the French Association of Film Cinematographers, Hervé Icovic, on behalf of the Federation of of Cinema, Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries, Michel Andrieu, representing the Society of Film Directors and Francis Gavelle, for the French Union of Film Critics.
The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled the jury for the main competition. Deliberating with jury president Nanni Moretti will be Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbass, British director and writer Andrea Arnold, French actress Emmanuelle Devos, German actress Diane Kruger, Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, Haitian director, writer and producer Raoul Peck and US director, writer and producer Alexander Payne. In a first, there will also be a designer on the panel: French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier.
Below are the full lists of the Cannes Film Festival’s competition and Un Certain Regard titles as well as the special and midnight screenings and out-of-competition pics. Out of 1,779 sumitted films, 54 features ultimately made the cut. Last year there were 58, and Thierry Frémaux said he expects to add more movies in the coming weeks.
Moonrise Kingdom, dir: Wes Anderson
Rust & Bone, dir: Jacques Audiard
Holly Motors, dir: Léos Carax
Cosmopolis, dir: David Cronenberg
The Paperboy, dir: Lee Daniels
Killing Them Softly, dir: Andrew Dominik
Reality, dir: Matteo Garrone
Amour, dir: Michael Haneke
Lawless, dir: John Hillcoat
In Another Country, dir: Hong Sangsoo
Taste Of Money, dir: Im Sangsoo
Like Someone In Love, dir: Abbas Kiarostami
The Angel’s Share, dir: Ken Loach
Im Nebel, dir: Sergei Loznitsa
Beyond The Hills, dir: Cristian Mungiu
Baad El Mawkeaa, dir: Yousry Nasrallah
Mud, dir: Jeff Nichols
You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet, dir: Alain Resnais
Post Tenebras Lux, dir: Carlos Reygadas
On The Road, dir: Walter Salles
Paradis: Amour, dir: Ulrich Seidl
The Hunt, dir: Thomas Vinterberg
Thérèse Desqueyroux, dir: Claude Miller (closing film, out of competition)
Tomorrow morning in Paris, Cannes delegate general and artistic director Thierry Frémaux will unveil his selections for the 65th edition of the festival. He’ll offer up the official competition and Un Certain Regard titles along with special and midnight screenings. The speculation machine has been churning for over a month now, with some films hotly tipped and a bunch of question marks hanging over other titles. The selection is unlikely to be complete when Frémaux announces it — he’s got a penchant for adding titles up to the beginning of the fest and sometimes even during.
Frémaux was miffed earlier this month when a website pulled an April Fools prank publishing a list it claimed it had pulled from the official Cannes website. At the time, Frémaux maintained to me that the list wasn’t even close to being finished and that regardless it would stay locked in his head until April 19. The website ultimately owned up to its joke. Anyway, based on my intel, here’s a sampling of what may turn up when Frémaux spills tomorrow:
Since French director Claude Miller’s death earlier this month, his last film, Thérèse Desqueyroux, has been tipped to be getting a special berth at Cannes. Organizers now confirm it will close the festival on May 27. The film stars Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche and Anaïs Demoustier. It’s an adaptation of François Mauriac’s novel of the same name. Over Miller’s career, he had 5 films in selection in Cannes. Today the festival said, “By dedicating the closing night to him, the Festival de Cannes, along with his family, friends, producers, and distributors, is very pleased to pay tribute to the memory of Claude Miller.”
EXCLUSIVE: Yesterday a French blog released a list of what it contended was the official Cannes selection for 2012. The blog said the list had been briefly published on the official Cannes Film Festival website before hastily being pulled down. A number of other sites have picked up the list, but Deadline will not. This was an April Fools joke, and not a very funny one. I spoke to Cannes general delegate and artistic director Thierry Frémaux this morning who tells me “There was no internet leak.” Indeed, it would be impossible for the list to leak given it’s not completed and, as Frémaux says, “The selection is in my head.” He further tells me, “This is all lies and it’s disgusting to play with such a thing. Cannes is an institution and must be preserved. There is a code of conduct for Cannes and it must be respected. Those who don’t respect the code, will never come back to Cannes.” Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval put the list down to an irresponsible prank telling me that some of his own films that appeared on the list have not even been seen by Frémaux. There were a couple of titles on the list that have been the source of wide speculation, but the official Cannes press conference takes place on April 19 and Frémaux and his team will be screening …
2011 Cannes Film Festival Sales Roundup: Deals For Clive Owen’s ‘Shadow Dancer’ And Todd Robinson’s ‘Phantom’
Clive Owen will star in Shadow Dancer, a BBC Films coproduction that will be directed by Man on Wire helmer James Marsh, with production to begin in Dublin later this month. Wild Bunch will sell international territories at Cannes, and Paramount Pictures has signed on to distribute in the UK. The film also stars Andrea Riseborough, Aidan Gillen and Gillian Anderson. Tom Bradby adapted his novel. The focus is an IRA sympathizer who is arrested after an aborted bombing attempt in London and has to decide whether to turn against her cause or spend her life in prison. Owen plays the MI5 officer trying to turn her. Chris Coen, Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney are producing, with BBC Films’ Joe Oppenheimer exec producer. …
Writer and director Todd Robinson’s Phantom will be sold at Cannes by K5. Andy Garcia, William Fichtner, Ed Harris and Natascha McElhone are starring. Pic’s a supernatural thriller about a troubled Soviet submarine captain who discovers there is something aboard that could control the fate of his ship and the impact it will make on an unsuspecting world. Julian Adams and John Watson are producing, and Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group arranged financing and will sell domestic.
The 2011 Cannes Film Festival doesn’t get under way until next week, but the market is already getting busy. Sierra/Affinity, which will be handling such titles as the Gavin Hood-directed adaptation of Ender’s Game, has bolstered its sales force by hiring Jonathan Kier as exec veep of sales. Kier was senior veep of international sales and distribution for The Weinstein Company. Sierra/Affinity principals Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg will be handling product for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, OddLot, Bold Films and Incentive Filmed Entertainment. …
Paul WS Anderson is re-teaming with his Three Musketeers collaborators Constantin and Summit on Pompeii, a period pic which builds drama around the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. That was a devastating explosion estimated to have been more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The subject matter, and its impact on Rome, is something James Cameron has long wanted to cover in grand detail, after his Lightstorm optioned the Charles Pellegrino book Ghosts of Vesuvius, with plans to do the same kind of thorough forensic recreation as he gave to Titanic. Anderson, who raced and beat a rival Musketeers movie, will certainly get under way first, as Summit will sell the movie in Cannes. …
Camelot Entertainment Group has acquired foreign distribution rights to Norman, a coming-of-age story about a high school student dealing with his father’s terminal illness. Jonathan Segal directs and the film stars Dan Byrd, Emily VanCamp, Adam Goldberg and Richard Jenkins. …
UPDATED AS EVENTS WARRANT
Thursday, May 13, 2010
12:00pm-7:30pm International Film Finance Forum
Hotel Majestic Barriere
6:00pm-8:00pm BOMBAY DREAMS Cocktail Party and Press Launch
(Azure Films) - Carlton Hotel
8:30pm-12:00am Marche Du Film Opening Night 2010
Majestic Beach La Croisette
TBA Icon Pictures Party
TBA Maybach Foundation Party
Friday, May 14, 2010
4:00pm-6:00pm South African Line-Up Viewing
5:00pm-7:00pm TIFF & OMDC Cocktail Party
Plages des Palmes
6:30pm-8:30pm Prescience / Metropolis Drinks Reception
UK Filme Centre Pavilion, Palaise des Festivals
6:30pm-8:30pm Screen International &
MDA Singapore (on the beach between Carlton and Miramar)
8:00pm Inferno Dinner Party
La Pizza 3 Quai Saint-Pierre
8:00pm Prescience Yacht Party
9:00pm Legendary Fashion Night
9:00pm Chancery in Association with Prescience Cocktail Party
Saturday, May 15, 2010
1:00pm Jean Pigozzi Luncheon
5:00pm-8:00pm New York Times Party
5:30pm-7:30pm New Irish Cinema Reception
Rado Plage La Croisette (beach between Carlton and Martinez)
6:30pm-8:30pm Screen Australian Drinks
Screen Australia Office Level 8, Residence du Festival
9:00pm South African Networking Function
Rado Plage Beach Venue
TBA Vanity Fair Event
Sunday, May 16, 2010
10:30am Morgan Creek International Brunch
Moulin de Mougins Cannes
3:00pm-4:30pm Digital Cinema Tango!
European Audiovisual Observatory - Palais des Festivals
4:00pm Mallika Sherawat, Irrfan Khan & Jennifer Lynch Lunch/Cocktails
for HISSS – Hotel Majestic, Salon Martha
5:00pm-7:00pm Israeli Films Reception
Goeland Beach On the Croisette (near Cinema de la Plage)
7:00pm-10:00pm Variety Party
Monday, May 17, 2010
TBA Paul Allen Yacht Party
4:00pm-6:00pm Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
Marquee in the gardens of the Grand Hotel
6:00pm-8:00pm Reliance Big Pictures and IM Global Cocktail Party
for RAAVAN - Carlton Hotel
8pm Russell Simmons & GlobalGrind Launch Party with DJ Kayper
for LOVE, BARACK – The india Pavilion No 108
TBA Bono & Wyclef Jean Party
TBA Europa Corp Event
While the Sean Penn-Naomi Watts drama Fair Game doesn’t officially premiere until its Cannes debut in competition on May 20, the finished film screened yesterday in Hollywood to a packed house of distributors. The Doug Liman-directed film tells the story of Valerie Plame, whose status with the CIA was compromised by leaks from Bush Administration insiders to journalists. These came after her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times that accused the White House of manipulating intelligence to create the appearance of weapons of mass destruction and justify the invasion of Iraq.
I’m told that the screening’s goal is to arrive on the Croisette with a domestic distributor in place.
Word is that the screening went well and a couple offers are already in. While this film will never be a favorite of the Fox News Channel, its success might well hinge on how well it steers from polemic about a Bush Administration nobody much cares about anymore, and into a relationship drama akin to Michael Mann’s The Insider. From what I’ve heard, Penn’s Wilson character comes off a bit preachy and, given Penn’s liberal politics, it will be interesting to see how that plays.
Also worth noting is that of the handful of American films embraced by Cannes, there are three that could be construed as right-wing bashing: Fair Game, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s documentary about the financial meltdown.
Fair Game was …