CANNES PRESIDENCY — It’s a power grab!

Paris–Ever since the launching of French television network and film distributor CanalPlus in the early eighties (of which he was a central part) media capitan Pierre Lescure has led the charge in terms of edgy programming and driving audiences’ expectations for top-notch entertainment ever higher. Whether it’s entertainment or art (or both) and it is destined for the small or big screen or the stage, Lescure has had some hand in it these last three decades. Now, he wants the Cannes president job (2014 marks outgoing president Gilles Jacob’s final year at the helm of the world’s most famous film festival).

Power grab! Ooh la la …

Sixty eight year-old Lescure, a businessman who holds stakes in a number of different media holdings, has chaired the jury of the Deauville American film festival before and has always kept several irons in the fire as far as the film, television and theater industries are concerned in France. As told to a local newspaper, the self-professed lifelong cinephile would effectively replace Jacob as of the 2015 edition of the Cannes Festival. “I’ve met a number of movie people, the answer will take place during first quarter 2014 as to whether I would take the helm in two years” (all administrative and leadership decisions at the Cannes Festival get vetted, and voted on, by members of an executive board).

Although Lescure is first to openly declare himself candidate for the post he is far from being the only one jockeying for position for the top job: filmmaker Claude Lelouch, Cinematheque director Serge Toubiana, and Jérôme Clément, the former CEO of Arte (France’s art TV channel) have all expressed an interest in being the next president of the Cannes Festival. That said, our money’s on Lescure. From a business perspective, it’s what makes sense. Lescure has stood at the intersection of business and art & entertainment his whole life, he understands the political and economic intricacies of the game. Remains to be seen, however, whether Lescure will get the one vote of confidence which matters more than any other: that of festival programmer Thierry Frémaux.

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