Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, the section running alongside the Cannes Film Festival, has appointed Julien Rejl as artistic director. He will succeed to Paolo Moretti, who had his third and last edition this year.
Rejl was named by the SRF (Société des réalisateurs de films), the governing body of Directors’ Fortnight. When announcing the news of Moretti’s exit in February, the SRF said it wished “to rethink thoroughly Directors’ Fortnight, its name, its singularity, and its strategic and political role.”
While the international name of the section doesn’t seem to have changed, the SRF suggested that it was rebranding it in French as the “Quinzaine des Cinéastes” to reflect its wish to be “more inclusive and turned towards film and filmmakers in a decisive and firmly political way.”
The SRF said Rejl’s “sheer, communicative, structured and versatile passion is exactly what arthouse cinema will need in the coming years.”
“The SRF has been drawn to his firm belief that the Directors’ Fortnight needs to remain a space for discovery, boldness, debate and new forms, and that whether it is made by a first-timer or a cinema legend, a film stands out first and foremost through its mise-en-scène,” continued the org.
Unlike previous artistic directors tapped by the SRF, Rejl doesn’t come from the festival circuit. He’s in charge of distribution, international co-productions and international sales at Capricci, an arthouse film banner based in Paris.
“This new identity is first and foremost an opportunity to reaffirm the role and commitment of a selection created by and for filmmakers in 1969: The Fortnight is the label that celebrates the vitality of world cinephilia and places the act of mise-en-scène as the invention of a singular language at the heart of the programming process,” said Rejl.
“A home for filmmakers from all over the world, the Fortnight is a privileged space for boldness and risk-taking, in fiction as well as in documentary, open to all genres, in a convivial and non-competitive spirit.”
He said a “selection is also a reflection, a resonance chamber of contemporary political, economic, social and ecological crises and struggles.”
Moretti, whose exit came as a surprise, had joined the sidebar in 2019 from the La Roche-sur-Yon Festival, where he had been artistic director since 2014. The Italian executive had taken over from Edouard Waintrop, who was also surprisingly ousted in 2018 after seven editions, which were widely considered successful. Before Waintrop, Frederic Boyer, who now heads Tribeca and Les Arcs, experienced a similar fate at Directors’ Fortnight.
The 2023 edition of Directors’ Fortnight will be held May 16-23.