Iris Knobloch, Cannes’ First Female President, Talks Streamers, Fest Controversies: ‘Creating Debates Is One of the Festival’s Roles’ |

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“Can you judge it took 75 years to nominate a female arsenic nan president of nan Cannes Film Festival?” Iris Knobloch asks, reflecting connected her 2022 assignment arsenic nan fest’s apical executive.

Known for her beardown will, nan chic, charismatic German is utilized to being a uncommon female successful powerfulness — she essayed various roles astatine nan apical of WarnerMedia successful Europe for 25 years, wherever she cultivated relationships pinch specified Hollywood players arsenic Warner Bros. Discovery advisor and erstwhile Disney main Alan Horn, filmmakers Christopher Nolan and Todd Phillips, Amazon Studios and MGM movie caput Courtenay Valenti and Amazon Studios trading main Sue Kroll.

“I emotion to constituent retired that each clip a female comes into light, it’s a mini measurement for men and a large leap for nan different half of humankind,” she says.

Sitting successful nan festival’s Paris offices, Knobloch describes her Cannes domiciled arsenic nan “legal and civilized authority of nan show — nan temple’s guardian.” She wears her assurance for illustration perfume. “Women excessively often mobility their legitimacy and thin to censor their ain ambition,” she says. “So I dream this information tin animate women to deliberation large and fulfill their dreams.”

It’s fitting that Knobloch’s strongest representation of nan Cannes Film Festival is nan 2011 world premiere of “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius’ black-and-white emotion missive to Hollywood. Knobloch, who started her profession arsenic a lawyer astatine Warner Bros. successful L.A., notes that she brought nan movie to Cannes arsenic caput of Warner France. It ended up winning 5 Oscars. “I retrieve sitting successful nan Lumiere Auditorium,” she says. “Since it was a silent movie, it was rather stressful arsenic I could perceive each sound nan assemblage would make. I kept wondering, ’Is it a bully aliases a bad sign?’ And past erstwhile nan extremity credits started rolling, we had 1 of nan longest opinionated ovations — almost 20 minutes. It was magical.”

Knobloch says that presiding complete nan show is much than a job; it’s a committedness that comes “full circle,” allowing her to usage everything she’s learned during her master career. From her acquisition moving astatine Warner Bros., she says, she gained a “profound knowing of nan American and European cultures. This expertise to enactment arsenic a span betwixt those 2 cultures is going to thief maine a lot,” she says.

Having attended Cannes arsenic a workplace executive for much than 2 decades is helpful, too, Knobloch says. “The first clip I went to Cannes was successful 1998. And for each those years, I knowledgeable it from nan different broadside — I participated successful discussions astir whether aliases not to bring a movie to Cannes, and I cognize nan committedness that takes, nan concerns and anticipation it tin trigger,” she says.

With studios and streamers precocious pledging to put successful nan theatrical experience, Knobloch says nan momentum is ripe for her to return nan helm of nan festival. “The nationalist and films are backmost successful theaters,” she says. “The statement that pitted streaming services and movie theaters against each different is successful nan past. This year’s action mirrors this caller era for nan festival.” Knobloch cites specified streaming giants arsenic Apple and Amazon, which are “dedicating important investments for theatrical releases.”

When Knobloch was appointed to her station past year, group suspected that, successful bid to placate specified cardinal streamers arsenic Netflix, she would revamp nan festival’s norm that prohibits films vying for a Palme d’Or from bypassing a theatrical motorboat successful France. But Knobloch says she has nary volition of pushing for that reform. “Of course, that’s an rumor I pondered past year. But nan statement has wholly changed. The Cannes Film Festival tin beryllium proud of having ever carried nan torch successful favour of cinema,” she says.

What’s her return connected a elephantine for illustration Netflix, which famously doesn’t surface its films theatrically successful France, and frankincense is locked retired of nan Cannes title owed to nan fest’s rules? “We respect their position,” she says. 

Cannes is often nan halfway of controversy, and this twelvemonth could perceive immoderate grumblings complete nan inclusion of Maïwenn’s “Jeanne du Barry,” starring Johnny Depp (both head and prima person been progressive successful tribunal cases) and Catherine Cor­sini’s “Le Retour” (which included accusations of inappropriate behaviour during production). But Knobloch says, “Creating debates is 1 of nan festival’s roles.

“A show is simply a reflection of society. I find it patient to disagree and to talk important topics that are raised by definite films. We’re ne'er seeking nan easy way.”