French film org taps Kessler

After months of internal strife, France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie, which plows around 1.5 billion francs ($204 million) a year into the French film industry, is to get a new topper.

David Kessler, culture and communications advisor to Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, will replace Jean-Pierre Hoss, who has headed the CNC since July 1999.

Pressure had been mounting for the government to get rid of the unpopular Hoss, whom the CNC’s rank and file accused of being slow off the mark following UGC’s launch of a controversial all-you-can-see cinema pass a year ago.

Gaumont followed suit, bringing out its own pass six months later, and today there a total of some 300,000 in circulation.

Many in the French film industry fear the passes will be fatal to France’s unique subsidy system, which takes a percentage of each cinema ticket sold and invests the money back into production.

The CNC also oversees France’s TV production industry.

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