PARIS — In a major, yet anticipated turnaround, Gaul’s National Film Board (CNC) prexy Eric Garandeau has been axed. The French government has appointed fellow Socialist Frederique Bredin to take over the reins of the powerful state-backed org.
Bredin, who will begin her mandate on July 15, serves as finances inspector. She has previously served as adviser to Francois Mitterand, deputy and later minister of youth and sports from 2000 to 2009.
The CNC shuffle had been rumored since May 2011, when Socialist Francois Hollande was elected president of France.
Some local journos have pointed out Bredin’s close ties with Hollande, which goes back to their time studying at the prestigious National School of Administration (ENA). Bredin also reportedly campaigned for Hollande.
Appointed by then-prexy Nicolas Sarkozy in January 2011, Garandeau participated in a flurry of crusades against the European Commission. Most recently, Garandeau was a key advocate — along with culture minister Aurelie Filippetti and thousands of industryites — for the exclusion of film and TV services from the free-trade negotiations between the European Union and the U.S. The EU eventually voted to exclude cultural services from the upcoming negotiations last month after weeks of heated debates.
“In spite of the attacks from Brussels, the budgets cuts and repeated audits, nothing could and will ever hurt the strength or real value of the CNC,” said Garandeau in a statement announcing his departure from the org.
The CNC plays a vital role in funding not only French film and TV productions, but also many international pics via its 53 co-production treaties; and its selective funding programs, such as the World Cinema Fund. In 2012, it redistributed €700 million ($912 million) collected from taxes on film tickets, TV channels, VOD, mobile devices, Internet, DVDs and other film-related products.
Under Garandeau’s leadership, the CNC’s accomplishments include the digitization of nearly 100% of France’s movie theaters, the restoration and digitization of 229 classic films; the launch of Cinecult, an international VOD platform dedicated to films from the French Film Archives and the Cinematheques; the creation of the World Cinema Fund; the signature of international treaties with such countries as Croatia, Italy and Poland; and the inception of the Jour Le Plus Court, a short film festival that will be adapted in 40 countries next December.