PARIS — The Cannes Film Festival is facing a shake-up with the imminent departure of managing director Veronique Cayla.
Cayla is expected to segue into one of the most powerful jobs in French culture as head of the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC), the body that regulates France’s film and TV industries.
TheCouncil of Ministers is due to approve her appointment at a meeting on Wednesday.
Cayla held a variety of cultural administration posts and was a member of France’s broadcasting authority before joining the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, at the same time as artistic director Thierry Fremaux, to form a new management trio with prexy Gilles Jacob.
While Fremaux focused on the fest’s film lineup, Cayla became the business brains and also initiated special events, such as screenings on the beach. She was behind this year’s new “Tous les Cinemas du Monde,” which screened films from a selection of countries.
Although less visible than Fremaux and vet topper Jacob, Cayla was at the top of the red-carpeted steps of the Palais des Festivals every evening during the festival greeting gala attendees.
The CNC doesn’t have Cannes’ international profile and glitz quotient, but it is a seat of power in the Gallic media biz and an important step up for Cayla.
As topper she will oversee a E504.4 million ($612 million) annual film and TV budget, and influence key issues, such as the opening of France’s film funding system to non-Europeans.
Previous CNC toppers have included Marc Tessier, chairman of pubcaster France Televisions.
Cayla’s predecessor Catherine Colonna, a former spokeswoman for President Jacques Chirac, stayed in the CNC job less than a year before being appointed minister for European affairs in Gaul’s recent government reshuffle.
With a solid grounding in Gallic cultural affairs and legislation, Cayla is seen as more fitting for the role.
The Cannes Film Festival was unavailable for comment Monday, but insiders believe Cayla’s departure is unlikely to bring about a major change in the organization.
“It’s an easier position to fill than the head of the CNC,” commented a culture official.