Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux and veteran French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, the duo behind the Lumiere Institut and its heritage film festival in Lyon, penned an open letter to support movie theaters.
As in many countries around the world, France has seen its theaters struggle through the summer due to the dearth of fresh releases, as well as the sanitary guidelines amid the pandemic. Theaters in France reopened on June 22 after a near three-month shutdown, but they are only now starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel with positive early numbers for “Tenet,” and a raft of new movies in the pipeline.
“Since Wednesday, the admissions in French theaters seem to be sizzling. Surely, they have not reached their usual level but that should not surprise us since it can easily be explained. It’s not that the films were completely absent [from the screens], but those two months were probably necessary for the activity to pick up,” Fremaux and Tavernier wrote in the letter.
“As September begins, everything leads us to believe, with beautiful new films coming up, that moviegoers will return to cinemas as well. This fresh start will allow us to get a sense of the real perspectives for exhibitors, distributors, producers and auteurs. These perspectives are in our hands — in your hands,” the letter reads.
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Fremaux and Tavernier said that in spite of all the alarmist predictions, “cinema still exists, it never left us.”
“Platforms bring out another kind of television, they co-exist as much that the traditional one has done with cinema. We hope we will still speak about them… in 125 years, the age of the Lumiere Cinematograph in 2020,” said the letter, referring to the age of movie theaters.
The Lumiere Festival, which is dedicated to heritage cinema, will take place Oct. 10-18 and will showcase some movies that are part of Cannes’ official selection. The Lumiere Award will be given to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the filmmaking duo who won the Palme d’Or twice and nabbed the best director award for “Le Jeune Ahmed” at Cannes in 2019.
Fremaux and Tavernier said they will soon announce the festival lineup and open ticket sales. “We want to express our optimism and our convictions, show the combative spirit that we must have in order to gain back all our energy and understand the new world that surrounds us.”