Cannes: 'La Tete Haute' To Open 2015 Festival

The 68th Cannes Film Festival

Like last year, when Olivier Dahan's 'Grace of Monaco' kicked off the festival, Cannes picks Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Bercot's film as the opener.

Emmanuelle Bercot's drama La Tete Haute will kick off the 68th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on May 13.

Directed by the France native, the film tells the story of a juvenile delinquent (Rod Paradot), chronicling his upbringing from childhood to adulthood as a children's judge and social worker try to save him. A distinctly French film, it was filmed in the Nord-Pas de Calais and the Rhone-Alpes regions as well as Paris. French film legend Catherine Deneuve co-stars alongside Benoit Magimel and Sara Forestier.

"The choice of this film may seem surprising, given the rules generally applied to the Festival de Cannes opening ceremony," general delegate Thierry Fremaux says. "It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving. Emmanuelle Bercot's film makes important statements about contemporary society, in keeping with modern cinema. It focuses on universal social issues, making it a perfect fit for the global audience at Cannes."

Last year, Olivier Dahan's Grace of Monaco opened the festival. Dahan, also a French director, courted controversy by publicly battling with Harvey Weinstein over the final cut of the film (Weinstein recently decided against releasing the film theatrically in the U.S. and instead the film will be released on Lifetime.)

The 2015 festival has already locked into its lineup George Miller's Fury Road, which stars Tom Hardy.

La Tete Haute will make its premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere in the Palais des Festivals and will be released theatrically the same day in France. The film has already been sold in multiple countries.

As in previous years, the French theaters releasing the film will be able to take part in the festivities and screen the opening ceremony, courtesy of Canal+ and an agreement between the festival and the French National Cinema Federation.

Bercot, a director, screenwriter and actress, has a longstanding relationship with the festival. Her 1997 short film Les Vacances received the Jury Prize at the festival. And in 2001, her feature film debut Clément made the Un Certain Regard official selection (she also starred in that film).

La Tete Haute was written by Bercot and Marcia Romano. It was produced by Les Films du Kiosque and co-produced by France 2 Cinema, Wild Bunch, Rhône-Alpes Cinema and Pictanovo with the participation of Nord-Pas de Calais Region. It is being sold by Elle Driver and distributed in France by Wild Bunch.

The 68th edition of the Festival de Cannes will take place from May 13-24. The Competition jury will be chaired by American directors Joel and Ethan Coen. The Un Certain Regard jury will be headed up by actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini, while the Cinefondation and Short Film jury will be led by Mauritian director Abderrahmane Sissako.

April 13, 10:30 a.m. Due to an error in Cannes' announcement, an earlier version of this story inaccurately stated that this was the first time a movie by a female director opened the festival. THR regrets the error.

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