×

Cannes Film Festival’s chief Thierry Fremaux didn’t just have to field questions about Russia and the dearth of female directors at the fest during his meeting with journalists on Monday afternoon. He also had to address a claim that the festival is attempting to censor the press — and confirmed that he has asked publications to revise his quotes.

Reading his quotes before publication is just a “French tradition” and “not a big deal,” he told journalists.

But Fremaux denies that he has asked to change what journalists have written or to remove certain questions. “There isn’t self-censorship and even less censorship,” he asserts. “If I’m doing an interview and the journalist accepts — and it’s a French tradition to back-read interviews — I’ll back-read and if I want to change something, I’ll change it; I don’t change the text of the journalist,” said Fremaux.

Fremaux, who either hadn’t been briefed by his staff prior to the presser or possibly ignored them, went on to say “I have the right to control what I must say and even change opinions, why not? I prefer to speak normally and then decide what I want to keep in the interview.”

Some journalists also raised the number of female directors in festival sections, prompting Fremaux to point out that Cannes is doing well since 25% of directors in competition are female. He said the number is good considering that just 10 years ago, UNESCO found that only 7% of directors worldwide were female.

Fremaux also said that out of the movies submitted for consideration, only 25% were directed by female directors. He also touted the large proportion of female directors within the French film contingent. “Female directors represent 75% of our French film selection in competition because French is a country with lots of female directors,” he said.

He said that Cannes will, however, include some gender quotas for the student short competition section (previously called the Cinefondation) “because it’s the beginning (of filmmakers’ careers) whereas Cannes competition is at the end.”