Cannes Film Festival: Former Canal Plus CEO Pierre Lescure Eyes Presidency

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Lescure cryptically indicated that he is in the running to replace Cannes president Gilles Jacob, who will step down after thirteen years.

MARRAKECH – With Gilles Jacob set to make his last ascent up the red carpet as the president of the Cannes Film Festival next year, former Canal Plus CEO Pierre Lescure hopes to follow in his footsteps on the Croisette.

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Lescure, who served on the jury of the Deauville Film Festival this year and as its president in 2002, stated his intentions in an interview with Nantes newspaper Presse Ocean. "I have met a number of people from the world of cinema," he said when asked about the soon-to-be open Cannes position. "The answer will come during the first quarter of 2014, to take the office after the next festival."

While cryptic, Lescure is indicating he has had behind-the-scenes discussions with decision-makers. To be nominated, candidates must ensure the majority of the votes of the 28 board members of the French Association of the International Film Festival (AFFIF), which puts on the festival, Cinefondation and market each May.

Lescure is the first to declare his lobbying openly. Other names floated for the post include director Claude Lelouch, former National Cinema Center (CNC) director Jerome Clement, French Academy president Alain Terzian, and French Cinematheque director Serge Toubiana.

Lescure also recently issued a detailed report under president Francois Hollande on the future of the French culture in the face of the digital world. The report outlined several ways for the government to protect the creative industries, including a new tax on smartphones that would help be distributed to filmmakers and authors who are struggling in the world of free and pirated content.

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Jacob has served as president of the festival since 2001, and previously as its CEO since 1977. He confirmed that he would not run for another term in May.

AFFIF's decision is expected early next year. The film festival will run May 14-25, 2014.