CANNES–Variety honored its 10 Producers to Watch for 2019 at a brunch on Monday morning at Cannes’ Plage des Palmes.
Launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the annual event fetes 10 producers from the U.S. and the international film community who share a common commitment to bold, original, provocative storytelling.
The films produced by this year’s honorees have premiered on the Croisette and made waves in Sundance and Berlin, tackling challenging themes while offering a platform for diverse cinematic voices. Collectively they represent a dynamic community that is going to “regenerate, rejuvenate, revitalize cinema moving forward,” said Variety’s executive VP of content Steven Gaydos.
Katriel Schory, who is stepping down from the Israel Film Fund, was also honored with Variety’s Creative Impact Award. Under Schory’s stewardship of the fund, more than 300 feature-length films were produced in Israel, while the domestic audience grew from 100,000 to 1.5 million admissions per year.
“Thank you so much for what you do, what you did, and what you will do for all the coming years, because we know that you will stay with us, and you will continue to play an incredible role for the independent filmmakers everywhere,” said Cannes Film Market director Jérôme Paillard.
Accepting his award on the 40th anniversary of his first visit to the Croisette, Schory reflected on a career spanning nearly half a century, thanking Variety and Paillard “for welcoming the Israeli cinema, for embracing us, for opening your heart with regards to our cinema.”
He called his two-decade-long tenure at the helm of the fund “a helluva journey,” adding: “We’ve gone through quite a difficult place of ups and downs, but we stuck to our beliefs, and the number one belief that we should maintain at all costs creative freedom, and we should go with the stories that we really believe, and be truthful to ourselves.”
He also offered advice to the young producers in attendance: “Be truthful to yourself. Keep your professional and personal integrity, and go with your heart. This is the most important thing.”
Schory concluded with the story of a poor man with only two euros in his pocket. “With one euro, he bought bread, and with the other euro, he bought a flower,” he said. “And we are the ones who provide and produce the flowers.”
Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch in 2019 are: Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral (“Les Miserables,” “Litigante”); Simone Gattoni (“The Traitor,” “Tommaso”); Xavier Gens and Gregoire Gensollen(“Papicha”); Anita Gou (“Honey Boy,” “The Farewell”); Nancy Grant (“Matthias & Maxime,” “A Brother’s Love”); Judith Lou Levy and Eve Robin (“Atlantique,” “Zombi Child”); Girish Narayan Pawar and Omkar Shetty (“Aaron”); Luke Schiller (“The Souvenir”); Jakob Weydemann and Jonas Weydemann (“System Crasher”); and Zangro (“Maman(s),” “Cuties”).
The 10 to Watch series, which is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year, spotlights emerging writers, actors, producers, directors, comics and cinematographers. Honorees are curated from submissions from the entertainment industry and selected by a team of Variety’s critics, reporters and editors.