Cannes Fest Unveils Gender-Balanced Selection Committee

The first international festival to have signed the pledge for gender equality in 2018, the Cannes Film Festival now boasts a new selection committee including five women and five men.

The names of the committee members were unveiled by Thierry Fremaux, the director of Cannes Film Festival, and Christian Jeune, the head of the department and deputy director, as well as Stephanie Lanome, the artistic advisor of the film department who has also been a member of the selection committee for a decade.

The committee of the 2020 edition includes Virginie Apiou, a journalist who has directed TV documentaries about film, notably for Canal Plus and Arte; Johanna Nahon, a young script doctor and producer who previously worked with French producer Charles Gillibert, and industry veteran Hengameh Panahi at Celluloid Dreams, where Nahon headed up the acquisition department from 2016 to 2018; Guillemette Odicino, a journalist, critic and head of the film department at Télérama, who is regular contributor to Canal Plus’s film mag “Le Cercle,” and recently co-wrote the book “Toscan, papa et moi,” and Caroline Veunac, a film critic and former editor-in-chief of the Canal Plus TV show “Plus de Séries,” who is now a regular contributor to the film and TV website Somewhere Else.

Other members include Lamome, a journalist and critic who was editor-in-chief of Premiere magazine; Éric Libiot, a film journalist who currently writes a book on Clint Eastwood, and was previously deputy editor of Premiere, as well as headed the culture section of L’Express magazine; Lucien Logette, the co-editor of the 2011 book “Larousse mondial du cinéma,” former film columnist for La Quinzaine littéraire, and editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine Jeune Cinéma since 1990; Paul Grandsard, a French-American photographer who previously directed six short films and became a programmer for the Premiers Plans festival in Angers before joining the Cannes film festival in 1999; and Laurent Jacob, who assisted directors such as Claude Lelouch, Claude Sautet and Nadine Trintignant, and was in charge of the Cinéfondation selection from 1998 to 2009.

The Cannes Film Festival is also supported by a network of correspondents, including Didier Allouch, Joël Chapron, Isabelle Glachant, Agnès Poirier, José Maria Riba, Yuka Sakano and Ilda Santiago.

On top of having a gender-balanced selection committee, Cannes has also had juries boasting as many women as men in recent years, since Fremaux took the reins of the fest solely. As far as the official selection, last year’s Cannes competition showed significant improvement on previous editions with four movies directed by women, three of which took home prizes: Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Young Lady on Fire” (screenplay award), Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” (pictured, Grand Prize), and Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe” (best actress).

As previously announced, Spike Lee will preside the jury of the next Cannes Film Festival, which is set to take place May 12- 29.

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