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Cannes: Jeffrey Katzenberg Becomes Commander Of The Order Of Arts And Letters In Festival Ceremony

Pete Hammond

Rounding out a successful Cannes launch of How To Train Your Dragon 2, DreamWorks Animation‘s Jeffrey Katzenberg this Cannes2014_badgemorning became a Commander of the Order Of Arts And Letters in a Palais ceremony presided over by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti. Cannes Film Festival programming wizard Thierry Fremaux also attended the ceremony and joined KatzenbergOrderin photos with the pair afterwards. The minister lauded the professional and humanitarian achievements of the DWA chief before he accepted the prestigious honor. “I actually have too much to say here but I won’t make it too long. I have found a second home here in France for 40 years. I have so many things to be grateful for the inspiration and the mentorship for so many things that originate here in France, which in many ways not only is the birthplace of cinema, but also culture. I have been blessed to be a part of the Cannes Film Festival commander-of-the-order-of-arts-and-letterswhich is the greatest platform and home of prestigious cinema anywhere in the world. To be on that red carpet, to be in that Palais I think is  really the greatest honor any filmmaker can have.” Katzenberg also acknowledged retiring President Gilles Jacob and Fremaux, who he said has brought “great artistic vision to the festival. His welcoming of animation well over a decade ago made history.”

Related: Cannes: DreamWorks Animation Celebrates 20 As ‘Dragon 2′ Breathes Fire On The Fest

He also mentioned his own relationship with the incoming president of the festival, Pierre Lescure , who was also in attendance today. “As the next president of the festival, it only insures many more decades of success,” he said. “To receive this is really a great honor and one that I am greatly appreciative of.” Read More »

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Cannes: Official Selection Buzz Sharpens (& Sprawls) Ahead Of Thursday’s Reveal

22x30_Cannes2014On Thursday, Thierry Frémaux will unveil the lineup for the 67th running of the Cannes Film Festival. Speculation, comme d’habitude, has been rife for at least the past month as to which titles may make the trip to the Croisette. While one exec with movies in contention says, “It’s going to the wire this year,” some contenders are coming into sharper focus. Although nothing is confirmed until Frémaux says so, among the titles I hear consistently cited as near faits-accomplis are DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2; the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard; Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher; Mike Leigh‘s Mr Turner; Tommy Lee JonesThe Homesman; and David Cronenberg‘s Maps To The Stars. There are many, many more required to fill the Competition, Out-of-Competition, Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings and other sections. Here’s a primer for what’s looking likely, and what isn’t, to make the cut in an official category on Thursday:

Related: Cannes: 67th Fest Poster Celebrates Marcello Mastroianni In Fellini’s ‘8 1/2’

We know that Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco is the opening-night film. French distributor grace of monacoGaumont is planning a classic Cannes soirée which will follow the official screening and dinner on May 14. In other certainties, French debut feature Party Girl is opening the Un Certain Regard sidebar; a less showy title than 2013’s Bling Ring, but one that fits with UCR jury president Pablo Trapero’s take on the section this year. Jane Campion, the only woman ever to win a Palme d’Or (for The Piano in 1993), is president of the Competition jury whose other members will be revealed shortly.

how-to-train-your-dragonAmong the high-profile Hollywood titles expected is DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon sequel, which I hear is getting a special screening. The studio isn’t commenting, but DWA and Cannes have a long history – going back to when Frémaux took over the selection in 2001 and caused a stir by putting Shrek in the Competition. We’ve heard that Frémaux has put a full-court press on Paul Thomas Anderson to get Inherent Vice (Warner Bros) to the festival. But with a release date at the end of 2014, this could be a long shot, and some I’ve spoken with believe it won’t be ready for next month. Some wonder if Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys jersey boyscould make the trip. Eastwood has been to Cannes several times before and is esteemed by Frémaux who gave him the inaugural Lumière Prize in 2009 at the October festival he oversees in Lyon with Bertrand Tavernier. Although I’m told Jersey Boys isn’t a typical Cannes film, I wouldn’t fully rule it out — it’s also got a timely June release. Read More »

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Cannes: Former Canal Plus Chief Pierre Lescure Will Be Festival’s Next President

Pierre Lescure publie son autobiographie chez Grasset Crédit : Bertini/GrassetPierre Lescure is back. After weeks of speculation, the former Canal Plus chief has been officially named to succeed Gilles Jacob as president of the Cannes Film Festival. Announcing the news, French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti congratulated Lescure on her Twitter account today with a “Bravo.” Lescure will take over from Jacob who is stepping down after the 2014 fest. The role of the president is largely to represent the festival and comes with some administrative power. Industry insiders believe Lescure is very complementary to Cannes executive and general delegate Thierry Frémaux who is responsible for the artistic content of the festival — he chooses all the movies in the Official Selection — and also has other managerial responsibilities. A major producer told me this week, “If they do it right, they would be a really great tandem.”

cannesLescure is a very popular choice with deep ties to the French and global industries, both in film and television. He was a co-founder of Canal Plus in 1984 and ran the pay-TV group as its highly-regarded president from 1994. (Full disclosure: I co-hosted a film review/talk show on a Canal Plus-owned channel in 2000/01.) Lescure’s tenure at Canal saw the creation of Studiocanal, whose execs and founders included Vincent Grimond, Vincent Maraval, … Read More »

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Quentin Tarantino Solidifies Favored-Son Status In France As Emotional Cronies Celebrate Helmer’s Career

Reporting from Lyon:

After tonight, the Lumière Festival taking place here in Lyon might adopt the subtitle, “The Quentin Tarantino Festival of Love.” Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux and Lumière Institute president Bertrand Tavernier created this festival five years ago in the city that is the birthplace of cinema. This year, the fest gave its big Lumière Prize to Tarantino. A ceremony that lasted more than 2.5 hours was rife with song, dance, montages, and a lot of laughter mixed in with tears. This prize is “an act of admiration,” Frémaux said. “A way to tell people that we love them and to talk about their films.” He also dreams of this award being considered the ‘Nobel of Cinema’. “When we suggested Quentin Tarantino for the prize, we knew people would say he’s very young. But Albert Camus was only 44 when he won the Nobel for literature.” When Tarantino shouted at the end of the night, “Vive le cinema!,” no one in the room thought the 50-year-old was undeserving.

Tarantino blew into town unexpectedly on Monday when the fest kicked off and has been soaking it up ever since. It’s his kind of festival, stuffed with retrospectives, tributes and restored versions of Hollywood and world classics. Tonight, it was his turn to be feted. He was surrounded by friends and collaborators including longtime producers Lawrence Bender and Harvey Weinstein as well as actors from his films like Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Mélanie Laurent and Uma Thurman, who presented the award to her Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill director.

Tarantino was nearly speechless when he accepted the prize at the end of the night, “I don’t really have words for how I feel right now. This may be one of the first few times that’s ever happened to me,” said the normally loquacious director. “This is just a very, very overwhelming experience,” he said.

The Amphitheater at the Lyon Palais de Congrès was packed to the rafters with 3,000 invitees – many of whom were locals who paid for the chance to celebrate Tarantino, and maybe pick up a QT-shirt specially designed for the event. Tarantino is almost god-like for French moviegoers, so it’s no surprise. I saw Pulp Fiction in a Paris movie theater on a random night in 1994 – after it had won the Palme d’Or – and have never seen an audience whoop and holler in such a way. Fast-forward to the first Kill Bill and I remember being at a premiere screening at the Grand Rex theater in Paris where the reception was just as rapturous. Tarantino had introduced the film but he also stuck around to watch. Read More »

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Quentin Tarantino To Receive Career Honor At France’s Lumière Film Festival

Cannes Film Fest chief Thierry Frémaux launched the Lumière Festival in his native Lyon, France five years ago with Lumière Institute president Bertrand Tavernier. The event, which is also open to the public, is a classic movie-lover’s dream with a vast lineup of retrospectives and restored vintage titles all screening in the birthplace of cinema. In a nod to Frémaux’s deep relationshps within the industry, the fest attracts big name talent each October. Following in the footsteps of previous recipients like Clint Eastwood and Milos Forman, Quentin Tarantino is being given the Prix Lumière this year. The fest said the honor is for his body of work, his love of cinema, “the tributes he pays inside his own films to the entire mythology of the 7th art” and for “the way he’s always saying ‘Vive le cinéma!’” Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Festival Kicks Off With Most Anticipated Slate In Years

Pete Hammond

After two years in a row of heavily influencing the Oscar race, the 66th Cannes Film Festival lineup may make it three this year. Certainly I see very long and winding Croisette lines to pick up press or market credentials at the Palais, which is adorned with posters of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a provocative still shot from their fluffy France-set 1963 comedy A New Kind Of Love. One early clue came when the jury was announced, beginning with President Steven Spielberg and including such Oscar winners as Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz. And if it’s not enough to have those icons prominent at this year’s fest, add The Great Gatsby‘s Baz Lurhmann whose film is the opening night event with a gala after-party, and Martin Scorsese who will also be in town for a yacht party announcement of his longtime gestating directorial effort Silence on May 16th. Certainly many of the Cannes contenders both in and out of competition are from Academy Award winners and Cannes veterans back with intriguing films that make up a high profile and potent selection with advance buzz.  Competing are the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski and Alexander Payne plus a slew of famous names in front of the cameras both on screen and on the Red Carpet this year.

Related: Fleming: Can Sizzle Reels Make Sizzling Deals This Year?

As for the competition and key sidebars, one perennial Cannes question os whether it’s a good idea to ready or even rush a film designed for year-end release in order to play at the Festival in May. Particularly of that means risking negative reviews which can be a real buzz killer. Take, for instance, Payne’s last minute entry Nebraska from Paramount, which almost didn’t appear here. In the initial forecast Deadline posted on March 13, we thought Payne’s film fit in with the auteurist nature of the fest, it’s in black and white, and its filmmaker is quite a favorite in Cannes. (He has had only one film previously in competition – 2002′s About Schmidt – and won no prize, but he not only headed the jury for Un Certain Regard in 2005 but also was a member of the main competition jury last year.) Yet shortly after this prediction I was told Cannes wasn’t in the cards due to Payne’s fondness for long post-production time. He didn’t want to be rushed. Then the studio saw the film about a week before the Cannes deadline and execs urged Payne to put it into the festival. He took Nebraska to Paris to show to Cannes programming honcho Thierry Fremaux with just two days to go before the press conference announcing the 2013 lineup. Now it is one of the most anticipated screenings even though it ooccurs towards the end of the Festival on May 23. Paramount claims  it recently had a successful research screening in Pasadena and has dated the film for November 22nd, right in the heart of Oscar season (Payne is a two-time Screenwriting Oscar winner for Sideways and The Descendants).

Conversely there was absolutely no doubt Joel and Ethan Coen would be bringing their latest, the 1960′s-set Greenwich Village folk music tale Inside Llewyn Davis screening on May 19. It is their 8th time around this particular block so they are virtually Cannes regulars. CBS Films won’t release the movie stateside until December 6, another prime Oscar date.

Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur screening on May 25 on the last day of competition is the adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway play. It brings Polanski back to Cannes for the first time since winning his only Palme d’Or (for 2003′s The Pianist, which resulted in a Best Director Oscar). It stars  his wife Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Almarac and though audiences and critics weren’t too impressed with the last Polanski Broadway play adaptation God Of Carnage, this dramatic work could be more up his alley. There’s also strong interest in French director  Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian screening May 18 largely due to lead actor Benecio Del Toro’s role as a Blackfoot Indian WWII vet. (But someone’s gotta change that lumbering title.) Cannes watchers also are buzzing about new works from three directors who are no strangers on the Croisette: Nicolas Winding Refn who won Best Director in Cannes for 2011′s Drive and has re-teamed with star Ryan Gosling as a drug smuggler in the May 22nd entry Only God Forgives. (I am told Kristin Scott Thomas steals this one as his mother). And though his films don’t make much noise in theatres, James Gray is a Cannes favorite  and back with his fourth competition entry, The Immigrant (formerly called Lowlife) screening May 24th with a starry cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. Jim Jarmusch brings his new Vampire story Only Lovers Left Alive which stars the always intriguing Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska . It has the distinction of being the last film to make the list and the last competition film to be screened: in the 10 PM slot on May 25th.

As always with Cannes there is just too damn much to see with many sidebar competitions like Un Certain Regard, Director’s Fortnight, Critics Week, Cannes Classics and so on. Certainly the opener for Un Certain Regard, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Ryan Coogler’s Sundance sensation Fruitvale Station (summer releases stateside) are both screening on the sidebar’s first day of May 16th and are instant must-sees in addition to James Franco’s directorial outing, As I Lay Dying, on May 20th.

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French Femmes Decry Lack Of Women In Cannes Film Festival Competition

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 Read More »

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Cannes Analysis: U.S. Films Make Their Mark On 2012 Lineup

Following last year’s stellar lineup (The Artist, Midnight In Paris, etc), Cannes Film Festival general delegate and artistic director Thierry Frémaux had a tough task to come up with an equally ripe selection this year. It seems he succeeded given that words being tossed around the French film biz today include “impressive” and “sumptuous.” However, he tells me he didn’t feel pressure to outdo himself. “Last year at this time no one knew, even me, that it would be considered a very good year.” He’s still going to announce another 3 or 4 titles, but he says he doesn’t even know what they are yet.

Related: Full Lists Of The 65th Cannes Film Festival Selection

There’s a heavy presence of English-language films in this year’s vintage, but Frémaux points out that looks can be deceiving: there are features from 26 countries. He tells me, though, that he feels a renewed “presence of a certain type of American cinema that we no longer had.” It’s come back strong, he says, “but I also hope it’s a new existence for great American films on an international level.” Read More »

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Full Lists Of The 65th Cannes Film Festival Selection

Related: Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ To Open Cannes

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.

COMPETITION:
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)
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Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ To Open Cannes; Lineup Includes Lee Daniels’ ‘Paperboy’, Andrew Dominik’s ‘Killing Them Softly’, John Hillcoat’s ‘Lawless’, Jeff Nichols’ ‘Mud’

Related: Full Lists Of The 65th Cannes Film Festival Selection

UPDATE: Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom will open the fest and play in competition. The competition is rife with directors hailing from English-speaking territories. As expected Lee Daniels is in with Paperboy, Andrew Dominik will be there with Killing Them Softly, John Hillcoat’s Lawless has a berth and so do David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Jeff Nichols’ Mud and The Angels’s Share from Ken Loach. Walter Salles’ English-language On The Road is locked. The full list of competition films follows:
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Cannes Film Festival Selection: What To Expect At Tomorrow’s Unveiling … Maybe

Cannes Film Festival 2012 SelectionsTomorrow 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.

Related: Claude Miller’s ‘Thérèse Desqueyroux’ To Close Cannes Film Festival

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: Read More »

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EXCLUSIVE: Thierry Frémaux Says No Leak At Cannes Film Festival; “It’s All Lies”

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 … Read More »

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Cannes Festival Adds Pics By Persecuted Iranian Filmmakers Jafar Panahi And Mohammad Rasoulof

Mike Fleming

In a important show of solidarity, the 2011 Cannes Film Festival has added to its program films directed by Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, the Iranian filmmakers who each drew six-year prison sentences (with a 20-year filmmaking banishment for Panahi) by a strict Tehran regime that charged them with “propaganda against the state.” Essentially, the men were vilified for publicly mourning protesters killed following the presidential election. Panahi, who won Camera d’Or honors at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival for his first film, The White Balloon, and the Golden Lion in 2000 for The Circle, was arrested again in February 2010, and sent to prison in Tehran on the dubious charge of collusion and propaganda. Filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Coppola, Paul Haggis and Sean Penn, and numerous festivals and humanitarian organizations like Amnesty International, have decried the harsh sentences that have cast a chill on all Iranian filmmakers.

For its part, festival organizers reveal they just got the films that were made in “semi-clandestine” conditions. Read More »

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World Support Mobilizing For Imprisoned Iranian Filmmakers

Mike Fleming

The conviction and 6-year sentence given acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi and his colleague Muhammad Rasoulof happened when most major directors had left town for the holiday, and has made it difficult to mobilize a concerted response. But help is on the way, as those imprisoned filmmakers plan their appeal. I’m told that Amnesty International is mobilizing an urgent petition that will be unveiled right after Christmas and which is being spearheaded by Crash director Paul Haggis. Another petition has been organized by Thierry Fremaux, festival director of Cannes. Harvey Weinstein is part of the Amnesty International campaign, and Sean Penn is involved in both efforts. The goal is to get the artistic community to help exert international pressure to free filmmakers who risk rotting in jail cells and having their careers ended for merely speaking their minds. Fremaux’s petition can be linked through http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/solidarite-jafar-panahi/, but you can read it here:

We have just learnt, with great anger and concern, about the judgement of the Court of the Islamic Republic in Teheran, heavily condemning Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

The sentence: six years of imprisonment without remission, accompanied by a ban of twenty years on writing and making films, giving interviews to the press, leaving the territory, or communicating with foreign cultural organisations.

Another filmmaker, Mohammad Rassoulov, has been likewise sentenced to six years in prison. Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rassoulov are going to join the many prisoners now rotting in jail

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