The Cannes Film Festival has elected a president for the first time in its history

Iris Knobloch succeeds Pierre Lescure. She will take office on July 1, despite a contentious election.

For the first time in its history, the Cannes festival elects, not a president, but a president. Iris Knoblochthe former leader of WarnerMedia France, was appointed on Wednesday March 23 and will take office at the beginning of July, for a 3-year mandate. She states: “Deeply European, having always defended the cinema in my career, in France and abroad, I am happy to be able to devote all my energy to the influence of this planetary event, a major meeting for the safeguard of the cultural life of a world that feels, more than ever, the imperative need. The cinema film seen in theaters remains an essential artistic expression and the Cannes Film Festival, with its unique selection, shows the way to this every year.”. She succeeds Pierre Lescureat the head of the festival since 2014: “When I was re-elected in June 2020, I announced that I wanted to ensure my succession before the end of this 3rd term and that I wanted it to be entrusted to a woman. I am happy with the arrival of Iris Knobloch and I will be pleased to pass on my duties to her, the duties of which she will be able to carry out with vision and talent. »

Favorite in this position, the German was however only elected with 18 votes for (6 against and 3 abstentions): a first woman certainly, but also the first time that an election is not unanimous. Indeed, the electoral process had been denounced by the representatives of French cinema in a letter to Pierre Lescure because they regretted the choice outside the board of directors and the lack of communication. If this dispute concerns the procedure, the opinions on Iris Knobloch are not necessarily all positive, as shown by the tweet of the Director of the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), considering that it was placed by the government:

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The lack of transparency was also deplored. Indeed, when she left her post at WarnerMédia in July 2021, the German lawyer created, with the Pinault family and the banker Matthew Pigasse, I2PO : a private fundraising company to finance the acquisition of companies in the entertainment and leisure industry. Upon its IPO, the company had raised 275 million euros. To avoid any conflict of interest, I2PO will not be able to invest in the film industry and therefore not in the Cannes Film Festival. Festival which finds itself in many debates… It will also be up to the new president to decide whether the films which are released on the platforms can re-enter the competition for the 2023 edition. As a reminder, films which are not released in theaters will not can no longer be part of the nominees since 2018, following the controversy over Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories – released only on Netflix.

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