De Bokay says oui to Miami

French executive to run film festival

MIAMI — Another French exec has taken the reins at the Miami Film Festival.

Patrick de Bokay, whose career has mostly played out in the marketing and advertising arenas, takes over director duties from five-year fest topper, and fellow Gaul, Nicole Guillemet.

The bleached-blond, spiky-haired de Bokay says he’s actually half Finnish and half Hungarian, but grew up in Paris. “I consider myself a world citizen,” he says.

He’ll now make Miami his home and focus on strengthening ties between the event and the local community as well as upping the fest’s entertainment factor. That means outdoor screenings and a continued festival base in spring break destination South Beach.

As for the industry focus, he says he’s still formulating how that might take shape. What’s for sure is that Encuentros, the speed-dating program that brings together Ibero-American filmmakers and execs, will continue.

“I’m not quite ready to talk ‘industry’ or ‘sales’ yet,” he says, adding, “We are not creating a market. The role of the festival is to help service and be a conduit to filmmakers and the business.”

De Bokay has worked for Twentieth Century Fox in Paris and Turner Pictures in the U.S. He also headed the inaugural Bankok Film Fest in 2003.

As for Guillemet, she will move back to New York and continue to do consulting work. A 22-year Sundance veteran, Guillemet revitalized the Miami meet at a time of crisis, following the loss of its major sponsor and the one-year stint by 2002 fest director David Poland.

With three Latin American films finding U.S. distribution during her final festival this year, Guillemet says she’s comfortable with her exit: “It feels good,” she says.

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