Cannes Film Festival President Iris Knobloch Addresses How Event Will Deal With Potential #MeToo Allegations

Cannes Film Festival President Iris Knobloch has said the event is paying close attention to the evolving #MeToo situation in France in an interview with celebrity magazine Paris Match.

The publication of the Q&A on Thursday came amid rising speculation within the French media and local film industry that a raft of #MeToo allegations is set to break in the lead up and during the upcoming 81st edition of the festival, running from May 14 to 25.

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Quizzed on whether a film would be retained in Competition if its director were implicated in a sexual assault case, Knobloch replied the festival would make a decision on a case by case basis

“We’re extremely attentive to what is happening today, and we’re following the situation closely,” she said. “If the case of a person being implicated should arise, we will take care to make the right decision on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the board and all the involved parties. But we would also consider the work to see what is best for it. It is the real star.”

The rumours of an imminent raft of sexual assault allegations come amid a new #MeToo wave in France provoked by actress and filmmaker Judith Godrèche’s decision to speak up about sexual abuse she says suffered as a teenager at the hands of director Benoît Jacquot. He has denied the allegations.

The actress has gone on to lead a campaign to end what she calls the culture of silence around abuse of all types in the French film industry. Her actions have encouraged thousands of alleged victims from all spheres of public and private life to speak up.

The festival announced earlier this week it had invited Godrèche to work premiere her short film Moi Aussi, highlighting stories of victims of sexual violence, during the opening ceremony for its Un Certain Regard section on May 15.

Former Warner exec Knobloch took up the role Cannes Film Festival president on a three-year mandate on July 1, 2022, succeeding Pierre Lescure who held the position for just under three terms.

She told Paris Match that being appointed to the role was every cinema lover’s dream, especially given the fact she was the first woman to hold the role.

“It was almost a double dream. It’s crazy that we had to wait seventy-five years for this to happen. The symbolism is very strong. Last year, a very large number of women came to show me their support, it’s a nice feeling, a positive wave. Some told me that my nomination was an inspiration, others told me of their pride. Clearly, Cannes lacked women.”

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