The appointment of TV host and journalist Isabelle Giordano to succeed Regine Hatchondo as managing director of UniFrance, the promotion agency for French cinema outside Gaul, has come with a whiff of controversy.

Some have said she lacks a background in financing and international sales, while others have defended Giordano given her knowledge of the industry and her 20 years as a host and producer of programs about French movies.

Since September, Giordano has worked hand-in-hand with UniFrance prexy Jean-Paul Salome, a film director (whose latest project, “Je fais le mort,” was just released in Gaul) and former prexy of ARP (the guild of authors, directors and producers).

“It’s still too early to comment on (Giordano’s) accomplishments but she has the advantage of being diplomatic, pragmatic and open-minded,” said Gaumont Intl. boss Cecile Gaget, who added: “Giordano and Salome form a complementary duo. Salome masters all the industry topics thanks to his run as president of ARP, and Giordano is well connected with producers, filmmakers and talent due to her background in journalism.”

Giordano’s career took off when she became editor-in-chief and host of Canal Plus’ talkshow “Le journal du cinema” in her late 20s. After her 10-year tenure at Canal Plus, Giordano hosted film mags on pubcaster France 2 and later on Franco-German net Arte. She founded her production vehicle Tupac in 2008.

Giordano said her next two priorities are to ramp up digital opportunities by developing more initiatives such as online festival MyFrenchFilmFestival and to give younger foreign audiences a taste for French cinema by hosting events and master classes with Gallic directors and talent in schools and universities.

“France as a whole is suffering right now — not only its film industry — so we need to be more open to reforms, to be conscious of our huge assets and encourage our talents to continue working in France in order to bounce back,” she said.