Cannes Brass

Key figures behind the film festival and market

Gilles Jacob

Jacob spent a mammoth 23 years as artistic director before being appointed fest prexy three years ago. Recently reupped for another three years, Jacob focuses his efforts on the fest’s film archive, the first chapter of which was unveiled last year. But he still finds time to lend a hand with the all-important selection process, sharing his wisdom and experience with artistic director Thierry Fremaux.

Thierry Fremaux

Three years ago, Fremaux shook up his relatively quiet life as director of Institut Lumiere film archive in the southern French town of Lyon by taking on duties as Cannes artistic director. He mans the fest hot seat as chief programmer, dealing with film folk from around the world who furiously clamour to be included in the fest’s official selection slots.

But the cool-headed Fremaux has shown that he can handle the pressure — and respond to the exigencies of perfectionist fest maestro Gilles Jacob. He earned kudos for bringing DreamWorks’ animated “Shrek” and Michael Moore docu “Bowling for Columbine” to Cannes in past years.

Veronique Cayla

If Cannes seems more public-friendly in recent years, with its open air beach screenings and film music along the Croisette, it’s largely thanks to Cayla, the fest’s go-getter managing director. Cayla was hired three years ago to take the organizational reins as part of a new management trio with prexy Gilles Jacob and artistic director Thierry Fremaux. A skillful exec who once ran Gallic mini-major MK2 and founded Paris’ Forum des Images videotheque, Cayla knows everyone who counts in French media and political circles.

Jerome Paillard

In eight years as exec director of the Cannes Film Market, Jerome Paillard has wrought some changes. Before his tenure the market was a sprawling, decentralized affair with many exhibitors not housed in official mart areas not bothering to register.

Today, Paillard has brought them all under the market’s wing, boosting the number of attendees fourfold to 7,500 this year. He also instigated that must-have tool — the mart guide book. His challenge this year is to reassure industryites from around the globe that it’s safe to come to Cannes, despite the ongoing SARS epidemic.

Claire Clouzot

When she was appointed as the artistic director of the Cannes sidebar Intl. Critics Week in September 2001, Clouzot’s first task was restoring calm after the acrimonious departure of her predecessor Jose Maria Riba. Things have moved on since then, as she gets ready to showcase her second selection.

A former film critic with radio station France Cuture who’s also directed three films, Clouzot is the niece of “Les Diaboliques” helmer Henri-Georges Clouzot.

Francois Da Silva

If Francois Da Silva’s face is unfamiliar, that’s because this is his first Cannes as artistic director of the Directors Fortnight sidebar. But in fact Da Silva knows Cannes like the back of his hand, having frequented the fest for years in his previous incarnation as an arthouse programmer. The newcomer has vowed to restore some of the sidebar’s lost edge, in keeping with the revolutionary spirit which saw its creation as an alternative to the main festival in 1968.

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