UPDATE 11:24 AM PT: Before my colleague Pete Hammond weighs in with his analysis of tonight’s winners and comments from the jury, here’s a little bit about what went down at the prize ceremony. There were several emotional moments with Master of Ceremonies Lambert Wilson kicking things off by saying, “The best things have an end. Not films.” He introduced outgoing Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob, who is leaving the organization after joining in 1977. In a fitting turn in his last official capacity, he awarded the Camera d’Or for best first feature and received a standing ovation on his way onto the stage, and as he exited. There were not a lot of dry eyes for the rest of the running, as Best Actor Timothy Spall fought back his own tears, and Xavier Dolan, the enfant terrible of Canadian cinema, accepted his shared Jury Prize for Mommy. This was his first film in the main competition after first coming to Cannes in 2009 with I Killed My Mother in Directors’ Fortnight at the ripe young age of 20. He particularly thanked jury president Jane Campion, telling her that The Piano helped to define his career. There were some surprises, and some films that we expected would win statues. Pete will tell you more in just a bit.
The Cannes Film Festival main competition jury was officially introduced to the press today and at tonight’s opening ceremony at the Grand Theatre Lumiere before the screening of Grace Of Monaco. (That’s one film they won’t have to worry about judging — it’s playing out of competition.) But there are 18 more that are in the running for the Palme d’Or and other prizes. President of the jury Jane Campion says they will meet about three times during the course of the next 10 days to compare notes, perhaps argue, and try to form a consensus as they keep the Murine by their side and watch a lot of cinema.
Campion remains the only woman ever to have won the Palme d’Or in the 67-year history of the festival, so it is perhaps appropriate that she is presiding over a jury where the female members are outnumbering the men 5 to 4. In addition to Campion, the women include writer-director Sofia Coppola, actress Carole Bouquet, A Separation star Leila Hatami, and Korean actress (and former Cannes winner) Jeon Do-yeon. The men include director Nicolas Winding Refn, actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Willem Dafoe and Chinese director-writer Jia Zhangke who won a prize here last year.
As Campion has told the members of the jury not to talk to, or read anything from, the media, there wasn’t much news out of this meeting except the usual platitudes you hear from Cannes juries about the honor of it all. It was all a bit low key with the group lacking the excitement quotient of last year’s team which included President Steven Spielberg, director Ang Lee and Nicole Kidman among others. But Campion, who won her Palme d’Or for 1993′s The Piano, was quite outspoken when the subject of employment for women in the industry came up. “I think you would have to say there is some inherent sexism in the industry. (Cannes programming chief) Thierry Fremaux told us only 7% of the 1800 films submitted to the Cannes Film Festival were directed by women… It does feel a little bit undemocratic,” she said. “Time and time again we don’t get our share of representation. It’s not that I resent the male-directed films but there is something women are thinking of doing we don’t get to know enough about.” She added that it is often a surprise when a film does come about that really offers a strong female vision.
With about two weeks to go before kickoff, the Cannes Film Festival has announced the jury members who will make up this year’s main panel. Supporting president Jane Campion will be four men and four women, another example of this year’s (unofficial) emphasis on female filmmakers. The world cinema “luminaries” include French actress and former Bond Girl Carole Bouquet; festival habituée Sofia Coppola, whose The Bling Ring opened the Un Certain Regard sidebar last year; Iranian actress Lelia Hatami (A Separation); Korean actress Do-yeon Jeon, winner of the 2007 Cannes Best Actress prize; American actor Willem Dafoe; Mexican filmmaker Gael Garcia Bernal; Chinese filmmaker Zhangke Jia, who won the screenplay award for last year’s A Touch Of Sin; and 2011 Cannes directing prize winner Nicolas Winding Refn. The jury will judge the 18 films in Competition with awards to be handed out May 24. The festival runs May 14-25.
As things wind down here on the Croisette, prizes are starting to roll out across the various sections. Last night was Critics’ Week and later today we’ll have the Directors’ Fortnight winners. The Cinéfondation jury, led by president Jane Campion, has just released its top picks for this year. The selection is made up of 18 student films with the winners taking €15,000 for first prize, €11,250 for second and €7,500 for third. The director of first prize winner, in this case Art Institute of Chicago student Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, is also guaranteed their first feature will be presented in Cannes. Her winning short film Needle is about a girl who goes to have her ears pierced, provoking a quarrel between her parents that overwhelms the situation. Click over for the full list of winners:
Thierry Frémaux will announce the official selection of features for the 66th Cannes Film Festival on Thursday in Paris. In the meantime, the festival has set its slate of short films and Cinéfondation titles that are running in competition. The Short Film committee chose nine works from 3,500 submissions. The top prize in the section will be awarded at the fest’s official closing ceremony on May 26. The Cinéfondation committee picked 18 movies from 1,550 entries by students at 277 film schools around the world, a third of which are participating for the first time. Three Cinéfondation prizes are to be handed out on May 24. Jane Campion is president of both juries. The full lists of films follow:
Global Showbiz Briefs: The Queen’s Honorary BAFTA; India’s ‘Go Goa Gone’; Jane Campion Honored In Cannes
Queen Elizabeth II Given Honorary BAFTA Award
The Queen of England was presented with an honorary BAFTA award on Thursday for her “outstanding patronage of the film and television industries,” the org’s chairman John Willis said. He also called Elizabeth II “The most memorable Bond girl yet” in a nod to her appearance alongside Daniel Craig in a short film made for the Opening Ceremony of last summer’s Olympics. Kenneth Branagh presented the trophy. The queen’s husband, Prince Philip, was the first president of BAFTA in 1959 and her grandson, Prince William, is the current president. Also on hand at the reception were George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, Richard Curtis, Damian Lewis, John Hurt, Eddie Redmayne, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Thandie Newton.
‘Go Goa Gone’ Trailer A Hit In India
The trailer for India’s first “zomcom”, Go Goa Gone, is attracting a lot of attention with 2.3M views after 10 days on YouTube. The Hindi-language comedy stars Saif Ali Khan as a blonde zombie-hunter and will be released locally on May 10. According to ZeeNews, access to English-language zombie movies and TV shows has increased Indians’ appetite for the genre. Go Goa Gone is directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK and produced by Saif and Dinesh Vijan under their Illuminati Films banner along with Sunil Lulla of Eros International.
Jane Campion‘s limited series Top Of The Lake debuts on the Sundance Channel on March 18. The seven-part drama screened as a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, a first for a longform series. Campion wrote the BBC Two/UKTV/Sundance Channel co-production with Gerard Lee and directed along with Garth Davis. Elisabeth Moss stars as a detective investigating the disappearance of a 12-year-old pregnant girl, who is also the daughter of a local drug lord. Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan and David Wenham also star in the New Zealand-shot series. Emile Sherman and Iain Canning (The King’s Speech) and Philippa Campbell (Black Sheep) are producers. Here’s the trailer:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Jane Campion Returns To Cannes, SPT In Germany, The Agency Group & Maggie Simpson
Jane Campion To Judge Shorts In Cannes
The only woman to ever win the Palme d’Or will return to Cannes this May as president of the Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury of the 66th Cannes Film Festival. In 1986, Jane Campion won the short film Palme d’or for Peel and in 1993 made history when she took the top prize in the main competition with The Piano. Her last film, Bright Star, was presented in competition at Cannes in 2009. The Cinéfondation and Short Film jury is made up of five judges who choose three prize winners from among the Cinéfondation’s selection of film school entrants and the winner of the short film Palme d’Or, which this year will be presented during the closing ceremony of the Festival, on May 26.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s panel on the Sundance Channel movie Top Of The Lake, actress Holly Hunter talked about what it was like being reunited with director Jane Campion, who directed her in The Piano some 20 years ago. Hunter, who appeared on the panel with producer Iain Canning and co-star Elisabeth Moss, said she and Campion have maintained their friendship through the decades. “It’s an indescribable thing to work with Jane to begin with,” Hunter said. “She’s such an utterly silly persona, and she brings that silliness to the set, and she has wisdom that I think is hard won in her life… her sense of humor is equal to her wisdom.” She added that working with Campion is like “falling in love with somebody, but you are falling… it is deep and dark and fun. You can’t say no to Jane.”
The production was shot in New Zealand, and producer and cast waxed rhapsodic about the beauty of the landscape. But Canning joked that when he was reading the Top Of The Lake script on the plane, he was asked: “Oh, is that The Hobbit?”
MIPCOM Briefs: Jane Campion On ‘Top Of The Lake’, Syfy’s ‘Defiance’ Sells In Canada, ProSieben Gets ‘Restless’, ITV Acquires ‘Money Pump’ Format Rights
Jane Campion Mulls More Minis
Director Jane Campion is no stranger to Cannes, but she’s usually here for the film festival. In town for Mipcom this week, she’s here in support of her BBC/Sundance Channel limited series Top Of The Lake. The six-hour drama is produced by Emile Sherman and Iain Canning (The King’s Speech) and stars Elisabeth Moss. The move to longform TV 20 years after leaving the medium put Campion in a new environment where she “really gained a lot of respect” for folks who work in the business all the time. “It’s so different to map out six hours; we were shooting a feature ever four and a half weeks,” she says. Undaunted, Campion and her co-writer Gerard Lee tell me they’re already thinking about doing another similar project that would be set in Thailand. Top Of The Lake, set in Campion’s home country of New Zealand, centers on a female detective (Moss) investigating the disappearance of a 12-year-old pregnant girl, who is the daughter of a local drug lord. Campion’s The Piano star Holly Hunter also appears as a sort of enlightened woman that Campion says she based on a man she once knew. BBC Two and Sundance will sked the series for next year.
‘Defiance’ Finds Canadian Home
Shaw Media has acquired Syfy’s Defiance for broadcast on Canada’s Showcase. The deal was made with NBCUniversal Television Canada on the future-set series. Showcase will air in the spring. Defiance introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the survivors of a universal war. It centers on Jeb Nolan (Grant Bowler), the law-keeper in frontier boomtown Defiance that is one of the new world’s few oases of civility and inclusion. The Syfy Trion Worlds partnership is the first-ever convergence of TV and Massive Multiplayer Online gaming. Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Graham Greene and Mia Kirshner also star. The series is executive produced by Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor. Production is currently underway in Toronto.