Dominique Boutonnat, a film executive who was an associate producer of “Two Days in Paris,” “Polisse” and “The Intouchables,” has been appointed president of France’s National Film Board, or CNC. The government-backed organization plays a key role in the allocation of film and TV subsidies, as well as establishing rules applying to the local industry.
Boutonnat succeeds Frédérique Bredin, who exited the CNC a couple of weeks ago, a few days before the end of her second term, leaving the CNC without a president for the first time in its 70-year history.
In the weeks leading up to his nomination to lead the CNC, Boutonnat was the target of widespread protests from French producers and filmmakers who considered him too close to French President Emmanuel Macron. More than 70 industry figures, including Jacques Audiard, Emmanuelle Bercot, Michel Hazanavicius, Arnaud Desplechin and Bertrand Tavernier, signed a letter to Macron saying that they opposed the appointment of Boutonnat.
Beyond his closeness to Macron’s centrist party, Boutonnat was also criticized for his recent report on French film financing, which many in France perceived as a threat to the local model of “cultural exception” where independent, diverse filmmaking is nurtured through subsidies. In his report, Boutonnat suggested ways to improve the profitability of local movies and called for an overhaul of the current subsidized film-financing system implemented by the CNC, as well as for greater input from private financing sources.
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“The participation of new private financial vehicles is crucial as the sector is undergoing a radical transformation, a technological revolution, a decrease of traditional investments and increasing competition from abroad, with the eruption of new digital services in the cultural and economic ecosystem,” Boutonnat said in a statement issued by the CNC upon his appointment.
“The challenge of the next few years will be to support our creators, protect and defend our autonomy to allow our works and values to shine overseas,” Boutonnat added.