Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 Cannes Film Festival News

In last Thursday press conference besides announcing the lineup a few more things happened that are worth sharing. First was the release of "A Word From The President" were Gilles Jacob tells us about his vision for current edition and second, a hosting fund raising auction with Plantu & Friends in an event called Cartooning For Peace.

A Word From The President

Everyone knows the Cannes event that changes every year: poster, films, juries, prizes; behind its walls, there’s also an attitude which, decade in decade out, guarantees the continuing existence of this institution. The idea is one I particularly like, and it sees the festival as a shelter for endangered artists. Our influence has a long history: in the 1970s, already, Robert Favre le Bret and Maurice Bessy fou ght over Andrei Tarkovski; next, with Pierre Viot, we invited film makers harassed in their own countries, but who would be protected by the aura of the festival. Such watchfulness set precedents. I’m not going to list the names of those who benefitted, from Eastern Europe, Asia or the Middle East, but when we come across them, even years later, the warmth of their friendship is proof of their gratitude. And our doors remain open, both to them and to others... To all the others ...

Cannes, land of welcome. The 2013 edition illustrates – quite literally – this trait of ours. Indeed, we’ve invited press cartoonists to attend, they who have their own unique way to fight for liberty. On the press floor, under the eye of Plantu, there’ll be an exhibition of satirical, sharp and talented drawings on the theme of cinema. You’ll find a note about it in your press books.

And, so it is, that cartoonists from countries where freedom of expression is not a given will be rubbing up against each other. It’s like a signal: in the freest of countries, isn’t the ultimate dream of those in power for critics of their actions to be completely ignored? We must do all we can to ensure that the light of cartoonists, their art which consists in withholding nothing while summarizing fully in a single image, that that light never goes out: it’s the very last bastion against the despotism and dictatorship of the strong over the weak. By programming an event within which lies inherent a call to insurrection, the festival should perhaps fear that one day it might fall victim itself!

There is another philosophy that leaders should never forget, and that’s the hard work over many years that has enabled the identifying, help with developing, the encouraging, confidence-building and the time-saving given to successive generations of young film makers. We’ve been at this task of sifting and educating, or monitoring, rather, for a long time via a consistent process which became the Caméra d’or, the Cinéfondation and it’s Résidence, and the Atelier... I never miss a chance to say: sow and you shall reap the Fellinis of tomorrow. And the Bergmans and Buñuels. And the Jane Campions.

We thank the great artists who give of their time, expertise and enthusiasm to our young green shoots by heading up the Cinéfondation and short film jury. Helping burgeoning film makers dodge difficulties, get their projects known , and find the money to make them: that’s vocational for a few generous artists who find helping the newcomers to be vocational.

Thus, our good fairy this year is Jane Campion, who loved the idea of presiding over this jury, in the wake of Scorsese, Kusturica, the Dardenne brothers, Hou Hsiao Hsien, and all the others... Lady Jane, as I’ve been calling her since we met, is power, unity, harsh poetry and violence. She knows what she’s talking about. The three shorts of hers that we screened as a group when she first came in ’86 encapsulated everything about her world. They were great for all of the qualities mentioned, but they were also great because they were not copies of things that already existed. And then, 7 years after
Peel, The Piano won the Palme d’Or. What a beautiful example, what an inspiration for our filmmakers of tomorrow... At her side will be Maji-daAbdi, the Ethiopian director and producer, Nicoletta Braschi, the Italian actress, Nandita Das, the Indian actress and Semih Kaplanoglu, the Turkish director.

And now, it’s time to switch on the projectors, the official selection is about to be revealed...

Gilles Jacob

So, besides giving us his vision about this years' festival, praising Jane Campion and presenting us the complete Short Films and Cinéfondation jury, he announced an event that hopefully we will be able to see the works online, as yes I am curious to see the cartoons, especially those of many of my favorite directors.

The Event: Les dessins de la Liberté

The Festival de Cannes is hosting a fund raising auction sale on Monday, 20th of May at the Festival Agora to support Cartooning for Peace. This event, co-organized by Piasa, will present cartoonists Willis from Tunis (Tunisia), Dilem (Algeria), Kichka (Israel) and Plantu (Le Monde and L’Express) and will be conducted by the auctioneer James Fattori. For this unprecedented meeting between editorial cartoons and films, original collector artwork will be put on sale. The funds raised will benefit Cartooning for Peace to support their action.

Created in 2008 by Kofi Annan and Plantu, Cartooning for Peace aims to promote a better understanding and mutual respect between people of different cultures and beliefs using editorial cartoons as a universal language, by subtly shaking politically correct mindsets.

The exhibition linked to the benefit event, will be presented at the Palais des Festivals, during the whole festival.

A selection of eighty cartoons portrays legendary films, the film industry and famous film directors such as Fellini, Bergman, Spielberg or Haneke, in a light and satirical tone. Some cartoons also remind us that cinema creativity is still threatened in countries such as Iran or Algeria. If a film director has a problem with authorities, cartoonists from all over the world will take his defense and report freedom of expression violations.

Freedom of expression is under the spotlight to defend artistic freedom!

Nice work Cannes.


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