France’s César Academy board quits en masse amid Polanski row

Roman Polanski on stage after the preview of his film in November 2019Image copyright AFP
Image caption Polanski topped the nominations for this yr’s César awards

The complete board of the César Academy, which distributes France’s equal of the Oscars, has resigned following backlash over nominations for a movie by Roman Polanski and calls for for reform.

Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy swept the nomination listing for the César awards, sparking requires a boycott.

The Polish-French director has been wished within the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old woman for the reason that 1970s.

Hundreds of actors, producers and administrators have additionally referred to as for change.

In an open letter this week, they denounced “dysfunction” on the César Academy and opacity in its administration.

In an announcement on Thursday night time, the academy mentioned the board had “unanimously decided to resign” to “honour those men and women who made cinema happen in 2019, to find calm and ensure that the festival of film remains just that, a festival”.

“This collective decision will allow complete renewal of the board,” it added.

A normal assembly is about to be held after this month’s ceremony to elect a brand new board, which can have a look at implementing reforms and modernising the establishment.

Culture Minister Franck Riester mentioned the César Academy should function democratically, within the spirit of “openness, transparency, parity and diversity”.

What’s the background?

The César Academy has confronted controversy in latest months.

Many referred to as for a boycott when Polanski’s movie An Officer and a Spy, or J’accuse in French, obtained 12 award nominations. The Polish-French director fled the US after his rape conviction within the 1970s, and has since confronted different accusations of sexual assault.

Media playback is unsupported in your machine

Media captionSamantha Geimer was raped by Polanski when she was 13

“I am shocked. The 400 cinema professionals who voted for this nomination have applauded Polanski with 12 nominations – 12 is also the number of women today who accuse Roman Polanski of rape. This is not the field of morality, this is the field of justice,” Céline Piques, spokeswoman for French feminist organisation Osez le Féminisme (Dare to be Feminist) informed French TV channel LCI on the time.

France’s equality minister and movie critics additionally condemned the choice to appoint Polanski’s movie.

But the Césars defended the nominations, arguing that the physique “should not take moral positions” in giving awards.

In an open letter this week, tons of of movie professionals, together with actors and administrators, referred to as for “profound reform” on the academy.

They complained of an absence of democracy within the establishment and mentioned the founding statutes of the Césars had not modified “for a very long time”.

In response, the academy’s board mentioned it will ask for a mediator to be appointed by a tradition ministry company to supervise reforms of its statutes and governance.

It just isn’t the primary time the Césars have confronted controversy. In 2017, Polanski was picked to go the award’s jury, however stepped down after the move sparked outrage.