The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival also marks the 25th anniversary of its partnership with luxury jewelry and watchmaker Chopard.
Chopard artistic director and co-president Caroline Scheufele remembers fondly when Pierre Viot, then president of the Cannes Film Festival, asked her to create a new version of the world-famous trophy in 1997.
“You can imagine my racing heart when he invited me to redesign a fresh interpretation of the Palme d’Or,” Scheufele tells Variety. “The following year, at the closing ceremony of the 1998 Cannes Festival, the new Palme d’Or was unveiled to the world in the form in which it still exists today.
For Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux, the 25-year partnership with Chopard is a relationship based on loyalty and trust.
“Chopard is the ‘craftsman’ of the most prestigious award in international cinema, the Palme d’Or. The symbolism of this prize goes beyond its own value: it is an incredible springboard for all the filmmakers to whom it is presented each year,” he says.
In addition to crafting the festival’s top prizes, Chopard has handed out the Chopard Trophy to two rising talents every year since 2001.
“I really wanted to do something to recognize the work of promising young actors and actresses who would become the stars of tomorrow. It is our way of encouraging the next generation of actors,” Scheufele says
Just four years after picking up her trophy in 2004, Marion Cotillard swept the board with acting trophies, winning an Academy Award, a César, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose” (2007). In 2009, she was Chopard Trophy godmother — the award presenter — to Léa Seydoux and David Kross.
Other high-profile laureates include 2001’s Audrey Tautou Diane Kruger and Gael Garcia Bernal (2003), Jasmine Trinca (2006), Shailene Woodley (2012), Anya Taylor-Joy and George MacKay (both 2017) and Kingsley Ben-Adair (2021).
In 2017, Kruger won the Cannes actress trophy for her role in Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade,” and became a Chopard Trophy godmother in 2018 for Joe Alwyn and Elizabeth Debicki.
A double David di Donatello award winner for actress (2018 and 2020), Trinca is part of this year’s Cannes jury, and last year’s Trophy Chopard godmother was none other than the Academy Award winner for lead actress, Jessica Chastain (2021’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”).
In addition to the festival’s top trophy, Chopard also crafts the other palm-engraved rock crystal awards handed out to Cannes laureates, along with a special collection of high-end jewelry designed from scratch each year and worn by celebrities on the festival’s famous red carpet. This year’s Red Carpet Collection boasts 75 unique creations that draw inspiration from cinema classics, including Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights,” which served as inspiration for a diamond-studded brooch with mobile petals based on the rose that Chaplin wears on his lapel in the film.
The Palme d’Or debuted in 1955 when the festival’s board of directors asked jewelers to come up with a concept for a “Palme” award that would pay tribute to the city’s coat of arms. When Scheufele redesigned it, she set the golden palm leaf onto a large emerald-cut cushion of rock crystal, and added a personal note, shaping the central stem of the palm into a heart — a recurrent symbol in Chopard collections — to symbolize her passion for cinema. To mark this year’s milestone edition of the award, Scheufele chose to replace the translucent rock crystal with pink rose quartz.
Laureates of the Palme d’Or and other winning awards will pick up their trophies at the Cannes Film Festival’s closing ceremony on May 28. The 2022 Chopard Trophy will be handed out at a special ceremony during the festival on May 19.