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Thierry Frémaux • General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival

"A beautiful journey across cinema and across the world"

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- Cineuropa meets the passionate and very influential Thierry Frémaux, general delegate at the Cannes Film Festival.

Thierry Frémaux • General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival

Just a few days before the opening of the 65th Cannes Film Festival (from May 16 to 27), Cineuropa met with the general delegate of the major international film festival for which, this year, he has composed the official selection for the 12th time.

Cineuropa : How would you define your 2012 selection?
Thierry Frémaux: Like every year, the selection is a snapshot of cinema worldwide. I hope it takes on this role again in 2012. It will be a beautiful journey across cinema and across the world, whose filmmakers show its state each where they are.

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Why make the competition more crowded with 22 titles, and why notably insist that Ken Loach screen his film ?
It’s 22 films, because the opening film is in the competition. So it’s 1+21, and we are well within norms. And we absolutely did not insist on anything for Ken Loach, as he naturally presented his film for selection when he finished it.

Six filmmakers have been selected for the first time in the competition. After a 2011 edition already marked by a high rate of first comers, is this revitilisation a way of preparing for the future?
A selection above all brings together the best films that we have seen. But the concern to prepare for the future is permanent. Inscribing new names on the map of world cinema is one of Cannes' natural missions.

Ten of the films in the competition were made by European directors and five are European co-productions. Is this a positive sign of the Old Continent’s implication in auteur cinema worldwide, or a clue to the difficulty of producing certain works of quality on different continents?
When reviews are good for the films, crowds have abounded, and the market was fruitful. But one has to wait several months, and not only for the emotion at the end of the festival, to draw real lessons on the outcome of an edition. We will therefore see at the end of the year.

Have the economic tensions in certain European countries impacted the number and quality of films presented to you this year?
No, it takes several years to measure this kind of influence. We will see later. France is undergoing the same economic crisis as other countries, yet its film sector is thriving, because its system works.

Does the strength of the Cannes Film Market sometimes overshadow the actual selection?
Why would the Film Market overshadow the selection? Cinema needs money to exist. Thankfully, the Cannes Film Market is in good health to give it yet more life.

On what criteria would you judge that a Cannes edition is a total success?
When reviews are good for the films, crowds have abounded, and the market was fruitful. But one has to wait several months, and not only for the emotion at the end of the festival, to draw real lessons on the outcome of an edition. We will therefore see at the end of the year.

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