Joins fellow newcomers Fremaux, Cayla

PARIS — Jean-Pierre Calmel has left France’s National Film Center (CNC) to join the Cannes Film Festival as financial and administrative director.

Calmel, 51, is the third new face at the fest in recent months, following the nomination last fall of Thierry Fremaux and Veronique Cayla as artistic director and managing director, respectively.

But while Calmel will manage the budget, provisionally set at 39 million francs ($5.64 million) for 2001, the former deputy financial director of the CNC will not play a strategic role at the fest, a spokesman said.

He and Cayla will share the duties of outgoing secretary general Francois Erlenbach, who leaves after this year’s fest to return to a civil-service post.

Ongoing influence

On the artistic side, despite president Gilles Jacob’s resignation last year as artistic director, insiders expect the event to go on bearing the chief’s unmistakable stamp for some time.

In October, Jacob’s decision to appoint two people — Fremaux and Cayla — to do the work that he had previously carried out single-handedly was widely interpreted as a sign that he was not yet ready to relinquish control.

It emerged that Fremaux also intended to stay on as head of the Lumieres film archives in Lyon — hundreds of miles from Paris.

Jacob said at the time that the three of them would make “a perfect musical trio.”

He told Daily Variety, “I conceive of management of the festival as a triangle, with the two new appointees being the two bases.”

While Fremaux and Cayla, a former member of Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, France’s broadcasting authority, are both liked and respected by the French film industry, many wonder just how much clout the newcomers will have over the coming months, as the crucial business of choosing this year’s film slate gets into full swing.

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