Cannes sidebar taps new Fortnight topper

Macia named in surprise move

PARIS — The Cannes Film Festival sidebar Directors Fortnight has a new chief, following the resignation of Pierre-Henri Deleau.

In a surprise move, the Societe des Realisateurs de Films (SRF), which names the Fortnight’s leader, has chosen a relative unknown, Marie-Pierre Macia.

Deleau stepped down from his job after this year’s Cannes fest. He had spent 30 years at the Directors Fortnight. He said at the time that he needed to concentrate on a host of other festivals and industry meetings he organizes and felt the moment had come to inject new programming blood into the sidebar.

Insiders had predicted that he would be replaced by his long-standing lieutenant, Olivier Jahan. But Jahan took himself out of the running in order to concentrate on a feature pic he plans to direct and has severed his ties with the Fortnight.

Macia, 43, has spent much of the last 10 years in the U.S., where she has been part of the programming team for the San Francisco Intl. Film Festival.

“It might seem a little odd that the SRF chose me, but in fact a lot of the French directors knew my work because they had been screened at the San Francisco festival,” Macia told Daily Variety.

How it all began

Macia started her cinema career as a projectionist at the Paris-based Cinematheque. From 1984 to 1987, she was also responsible for the technical side of the Directors Fortnight screenings in Cannes.

In 1987, she headed Stateside to work with Eileen Bowser on restoring and preserving films. “I only intended to spend a year in the States, but it turned into 10 years,” Macia laughed.

In 1989, while working at the Pacific Film Archive, Macia was approached by Peter Scarlet to join the San Francisco fest team. Her new responsibilities mean that she cuts her links with the fest. Recently, she has programmed some special events for the Videotheque in Paris.

Although it’s still early, Macia predicts that she will be making changes at the Directors Fortnight. One alteration taking place next year is the dropping of the Cinemas en France section. Gallic pics will now be in the main sidebar. “I think there was a feeling among some of the French directors that they were in a bit of a ghetto and that they preferred to be in the main event,” Macia said.

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