Jacob to serve as prexy in non-exec capacity

Thierry Fremaux, the Cannes Film Festival’s delegate general since 2007, looks set to take full control at the world’s premier film fest.

The new balance of power, approved by Cannes’ board of directors Tuesday, also sees Gilles Jacob’s mandate as fest prexy extended to cover the 2013 and 2014 editions.

Fremaux, whose title won’t change, is already responsible for programming the Official Selection, which includes the competition, out-of-competition slots, Special Screenings and Un Certain Regard.

Fremaux’s mandate will now extend to the whole fest organization, including issues such as sponsorship and new projects, with 81-year-old Jacob — Cannes delegate general beginning in 1978 and prexy since 2000 — serving as president in a non-executive capacity.

The arrangement set by the Cannes board is the latest move in the delicate, incremental transfer of power from Jacob to Fremaux, begun when the latter became artistic director in 2001.

Over the past 10 years that partnership has seen Cannes open up to new technologies, genre pics and a far more fluid relationship with Hollywood studios, whose films — often mixing auteur vision with stars or technology — have been recent Cannes Gala Openers.

Cannes has also initiated new projects, such as the Cannes Marche du Film’s co-organization of Latin American film market Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires.

Although Fremaux’s decisions will still be made in consultation with the board and Jacob, innovation can now be expected to continue and may be accelerated.

“I am proud about my new responsibilities and very happy to have Gilles Jacob at my side for a further mandate as president. This new situation could not be more perfect for me,” Fremaux told Variety.

Speaking in October of the sucess of his selections for this year’s fest, Fremaux told Variety, “In a way, last year was my first real year. Over the last five years, I’ve had more freedom, but last year I had the most, the best freedom I could have had.”

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