During its March 23 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Association Française du Festival International du Film which includes government officials and film industry members has elected the Festival’s new President.
As per the Festival’s regulations, the election was held via secret ballot and Mrs. Iris Knobloch was elected President of the Festival.
She is therefore becoming the first female President of the International Film Festival. She will take office on July 1 and her three-year mandate will cover the 2023, 2024, and 2025 editions.
Iris Knobloch would like to extend her gratitude to the Board members of the Festival de Cannes for electing her as President: « I feel deeply honored that France has elected me President of the Festival de Cannes. As a heartfelt European, I have always stood for cinema throughout my career, both in France and internationally, and I’m thrilled to be able to give my all so that this world event remains influential – it’s a major event that is key to keeping alive the cultural life of a world that, more than ever, desperately needs it. A film of cinema seen in a theater remains a key artistic expression and the Festival de Cannes, with its selection so unique, shows the way every year. I can’t wait to start a collective debate with the Board of Directors, General Delegate Thierry Frémaux, and all of the film industry players to carry on what has been accomplished and to map out the future history in the light of the new challenges coming. Eventually, I would like to thank Pierre Lescure for the wonderful work he has done for the Festival over the past eight years and, in advance, for the discussions we will have, to prepare the transition over the next few months. »
«When I was reelected in June 2020, I expressed my wish to ensure my succession before the end of my third mandate, and a woman taking over should be paramount. I’m thrilled that Iris Knobloch is coming on board and I will gladly pass the torch on to her as she will undoubtedly show vision and talent in her new position».
Pierre Lescure, current President
General Delegate Thierry Frémaux added «My team and I are thrilled to see Iris Knobloch join us. Her election will help strengthen the Festival’s resolve to stay as close to its beliefs as possible. We have many challenges coming our way and we will do our utmost to make sure cinema and the Festival that embodies it, occupy the position they deserve while strongly affirming their artistic and political necessity ».
Pierre Lescure will step down from his position on June 30, 2022. The Board of Directors would like to extend their wholehearted gratitude for his priceless contribution and for the way he handled the Board members’ works – all the while strengthening the foundations of the Festival and so helping the event remain the ultimate artistic reference of world cinema.
General Delegate Thierry Frémaux and Secretary-General François Desrousseaux will now work with Iris Knobloch as they used to with Pierre Lescure.
As a trilingual lawyer who received law degrees from Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich and New York University, Knobloch readily describes herself as “a translator”, in the sense that she has always helped the Hollywood studio understand the specific challenges of the French cultural exception and defended the idea that creation and reason need each other.
After a 25-year tenure in various leadership roles at WarnerMedia, including 15 years as the CEO of Warner Bros. France, Iris Knobloch was given even more responsibility in 2020 as she became the CEO of WarnerMedia France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – as such, she oversaw the development and implementation of WarnerMedia’s strategy and coordinated all commercial and marketing operations in the region.
Shortly after she left the company, with a proven track record in entertainment and leisure and a strong international network, she co-founded I2PO in July 2021, the first European SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) dedicated to this industry.
During all those years as the CEO of Warner France, she has brought to Cannes and supported some of the finest international auteurs: Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven’s 25th anniversary, Christopher Nolan who supervised the restoration of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Steven Soderbergh for Che that earned Benicio del Toro the Best Actor Award, Woody Allen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Dámian Szifrón for Wild Tales, produced by K&S in Argentina and Pedro Almodóvar, Baz Luhrmann for The Great Gatsby, George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road etc.
In her career, one film epitomizes her work ethic – The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius, produced by Thomas Langmann, a silent black and white French film that she had to explain and defend, like so many other French films, before it went on to be the worldwide hit we all know and earned Jean Dujardin the award for Best Actor. It also marked one of the most memorable connections between Iris Knobloch’s professional commitment and the Festival de Cannes as a promoter of great films.
In 2008, she was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
The Official Selection will be unveiled on April 14, 2022.