Fest reveals selectors in wake of criticism

This article was updated at 7:05 p.m.

PARIS — Accused of favoring Gallic fare in its recent lineups and stung by negative press to its last edition, the Cannes Film Festival made an unprecedented move Wednesday to bring new transparency to its pic evaluation process, publishing a list of its selection committee members and foreign correspondents.

Announcement is a first that brings Cannes into line with other major film fests. Also, revealing the identity of its selectors is seen as a bid by the festival to neutralize criticism that its decision-making remains opaque to outsiders, despite the 2000 appointments of Thierry Fremaux as artistic director and Veronique Cayla as managing director in a new management trio with prexy Gilles Jacob.

Speculation about the identities and influence of selection committee members has become an increasingly frequent topic of conversation in fest circles.

No one at the festival would comment on the move, which comes in a year when the selection process was held up to heavy scrutiny after withering reaction to some of the lineup. Internally, Jacob is said to have been particularly concerned about the selection of some of the French titles for last May’s fest, although Cannes organizers strongly rebut the charge of French favoritism in terms of the overall selections.

Experience shows

Fest’s international film selection committee is made up of Virginie Apiou, a newcomer to the group this year; Guy Braucourt, a former film critic and member of the committee since the early 1970s under late topper Maurice Bessy; Paul Grandsard, who has been on the committee for several years; and Laurent Jacob, son of fest prexy Gilles Jacob.

French film selection committee members are Lucien Logette, Gilles Lyon-Caen and Philippe Piazzo, the latter the editor of Aden, the weekly supplement to newspaper Le Monde.

Fest’s team of foreign correspondents includes Joel Chapron for Europe and Central Asia, Lorenzo Codelli (Italy), Mamad Hagighat (Iran), Christiane Peitz (Germany), Brice Pedroletti (Asia), Agnes Poirier and Simon Perry (U.K.), Jose Maria Riba (Spain, Latin America), Ilda Santiago (Brazil) and Magda Wassef (Mediterranean region).

Riba ankled as the artistic director of Critics Week in September 2001 after just two years in the job.

The deadline for submitting a film to Cannes is March 25. Submissions may be registered online at http://www.festival-cannes.org or with the fest’s Film Department at 3 rue Amelie, Paris 75007. Cannes runs May 12-23.

(Steven Gaydos in London contributed to this report.)

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