French Cinema Board President Faces Petition for Dismissal

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A recent petition calling for the dismissal of Dominique Boutonnat, the President of France’s cinema board, has gained significant momentum among French industry professionals. Launched by an anonymous group of activists who claim to belong to various French industry unions, including Collectif 50/50 and CGT Spectacle, the petition has amassed over 500 signatures within its initial hours of publication. The signatories include artists, technicians, producers, and other industry professionals who demand Boutonnat’s removal from his position.

The petition references recent articles in the French newspaper Lib√©ration that delve into the legal troubles facing Boutonnat. He is currently set to face a trial in June over allegations of sexual assault that have been under investigation for two years. Despite maintaining his innocence, the petitioners argue that the situation undermines the credibility of the CNC, France’s main cinema institution. They stress the importance of setting an example, especially in light of ongoing discussions about sexism and sexual harassment in the industry.

While acknowledging the presumption of innocence, the petition emphasizes the need for accountability within the industry. It urges the CNC to uphold ethical standards and avoid tarnishing its reputation with controversial appointments. The petition concludes with a call to action for the entire industry, highlighting the importance of progress and societal impact.

Boutonnat’s tenure as CNC President has been marred by controversy, with his recent reappointment by the French government sparking criticism. Despite facing legal challenges, he was granted a second term in 2022, with support from Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak. The decision has raised questions about political influence in the selection process and the alignment with broader industry values.

Industry Response

The petition’s circulation coincides with the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, adding a layer of tension to the event. In addition to the petition, the festival is anticipated to face disruptions as the Precarious Film Festival Workers Collective plans a strike over pay-related issues. The convergence of these events underscores the industry’s growing concerns about accountability, representation, and fair labor practices.

The call for Dominique Boutonnat’s dismissal highlights broader issues within the French film industry. The petition serves as a rallying cry for accountability, ethics, and integrity, urging stakeholders to prioritize cultural values and social responsibility. As the industry grapples with ongoing challenges, the outcome of this petition could have far-reaching implications for the future of French cinema.

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