2018 Cannes Film Festival: Benicio del Toro named president of Un Certain Regard jury; ‘Everybody Knows’ to open festival

April 4, 2018

Benicio del Toro in "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" (Photo by Richard Foreman Jr.)
Benicio del Toro in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” (Photo by Richard Foreman Jr.)

Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro has been named president of the Un Certain Regard jury at the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival, which takes place in Cannes, France, from May 8 to May 19, 2018.

In other Cannes news, Variety has reported that the Spanish-language psychological thriller “Everybody Knows” (“Todos Lo Saben”) , directed by Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi, will open the festival. Oscar-winning spouses Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz star in the movie, which is the first Spanish-language film to open the Cannes Film Festival since Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” in 2004. The lineup of films at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival will be announced May 12 at a press conference that will be streamed live at 11 a.m. CET on the official Cannes Film Festival website, YouTube and Daily Motion.

Here is the official press release from the Cannes Film Festival about del Toro heading the Un Certain Regard jury:

The man who will preside over the fate of the Un Certain Regard Jury is not only a film lover but a brilliant actor, entirely devoted to his art. Eight years ago, along with Tim Burton, Benicio del Toro and his fellow members of the Jury selected Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee (The One Who Can Recall His Past Lives) as the winner of the Palme d’or.

Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Pennsylvania, he is an artist who knows no boundaries. He is a great admirer of Jean Vigo and Charlie Chaplin and would have loved to have met Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Toshiro Mifune or Humphrey Bogart. When he was 20 years old, he discovered The 400 Blows and the infinite universe of Fellini, Eisenstein, Bergman, Eustache, Kurosawa… The Naked Island of Kaneto Shindô became his go-to film.
At 6 feet 2, Benicio Del Toro always dreamt of becoming a basketball player but became an actor instead. His intense and magnetic presence on the screen makes him sleek and attractive. A chameleon with a thousand faces: a mild-mannered gangster (Usual Suspects, 1995), an eccentric moustachioed lawyer (Las Vegas Parano, 1998), a four-fingered robber (Snatch, 2000), an agent in a Mexican drug squad in cartel areas (Traffic, 2001, Ocar for Best Supporting Actor), an ex-convict turned fundamentalist Christian (21 Grams, 2003), a troubled American Indian (Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, 2013), a famous drug dealer both charming and terrifying (Paradise Lost, 2014).

The charismatic Benicio Del Toro transforms each of his performances into impressive but subtle displays. Despite his apparent insouciance, he throws himself like no other into his roles – his teacher was Stella Adler of the Actors Studio. He is a loyal supporter of independent cinema and has worked with Abel Ferrara (The Funeral, 1996), Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, 1997) and Oliver Stone (Savages, 2012) – he also appears in the 8thepisode of the saga Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).

In 2008, he received the award for best actor in Cannes for his role as Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s two-part film – a part he carried for no fewer than seven years. Del Toro and the Festival have a long shared history. He was there for the special screening of Usual Suspects, then The Pledge (2001), Sin City (2005) and more recently, Sicario(2015) which was selected to compete for the Palme d’or. He was even there for his directorial debut, El Yuma, one of the segments of 7 Days in Havana, a collective work selected at Un Certain Regard in 2012. The following year, Benicio Del Toro said: “I’ve come here many times and it’s always amazing. I am totally thrilled and excited to be here.”

As the second competition within the Official Selection, Un Certain Regard will once again feature some twenty original and unique works in terms of themes and aesthetics.

Benicio Del Toro takes over from Uma Thurman, who was president in 2017 of a jury that awarded prizes to Mohammad Rasoulof, Jasmine Trinca, Mathieu Amalric, Taylor Sheridan and Michel Franco.

This year’s Festival de Cannes will take place from Tuesday 8 to Saturday 19 May.

April 5, 2018 UPDATE:

The following is a press release from Momento Films:

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem in “Everybody Knows” (Photo courtesy of Momentum Films)

EVERYBODY KNOWS, the new film by director Asghar Farhadi, with Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín, will be the opening film of the 71st Cannes International Film Festival on 8 May. It will also be in Competition for the Golden Palm and will be released in France on 9 May. EVERYBODY KNOWS is produced, distributed in France and handled internationally by Memento Films.

Asghar Farhadi is back in the Cannes Film Festival after THE SALESMAN, winner of the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film 2017, and winner of Best Actor and Best Screenplay at Cannes 2016. Asghar Farhadi also won the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film in 2012 with A SEPARATION. The new film by the Iranian director will be screened in opening and in Competition 8 May.

Memento Films Distribution will release EVERYBODY KNOWS on 9 May in 350 theatres.

EVERYBODY KNOWS was entirely shot in Spain and in Spanish with Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and the Argentinian actor Ricardo Darín as main characters. Spanish actors Eduard Fernández, Bárbara Lennie and Inma Cuesta also star in the film.   The psychological thriller follows Laura who travels with her family from Buenos Aires to the village where she was born, on a Spanish vineyard, to attend her sister’s wedding but unexpected events lead this gathering towards a crisis which exposes the hidden past of the family.

Asghar Farhadi collaborated with great names of Spanish cinema including Jose-Luis Alcaine as DOP and Sonia Grande as costume designer, both regulars in Pedro Almodovar’s filmography. Clara Notari, known for WILD TALES and Soderbergh’s CHE, supervised the production design. The editing of the film was helmed by Hayedeh Safiyari who already worked with Asghar Farhadi on A SEPARATION and THE SALESMAN.

After THE SALESMAN and THE PAST, EVERYBODY KNOWS is the third consecutive film by Asghar Farhadi produced by Alexandre Mallet-Guy from Memento Films Production. The French producer collaborated with Spanish producer Alvaro Longoria from Morena Films. Lucky Red and Rai Cinema in Italy, France 3

2018 Cannes Film Festival: Inside the festival’s controversial restrictions on streaming services and selfies

March 26, 2018

by Carla Hay


Dustin Hoffman, director Noah Baumbach, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “The Meyerowitz Stories” at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, on May 21, 2017. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage for Netflix)

The annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, is one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, but Cannes Film officials have made two controversial decisions that could potentially alienate large segments of festival attendees and movie fans. First, movies that are from streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon will no longer be eligible for awards at the Cannes Film Festival, such as the Palme D’or (the top prize), Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. However, films from streaming services (and TV networks such as HBO) can still have screenings and premieres at Cannes. The second change, which is even more alienating to movie fans, is that the festival has now banned “selfies” from being taken on the red carpet. The changes go into effect for the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which takes place from May 8 to May 9, 2018.

In an exclusive interview with French magazine Le Film Français that was published on March 23, 2018, Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux explained that these changes have mostly to do with adhering to French laws which state that a movie that was originally released theatrically cannot be available for streaming in France until 36 months after the theatrical release. If streaming services such as Netflix release any of their movies in cinemas, it’s typically on the same day or within two weeks of the day it premieres on the streaming service. The new Cannes policy now requires that all films eligible for competition at the Cannes Film Festival must be available for release in French theaters, and the theatrical release of the movie must be before any release on TV or on streaming services. Since Netflix and other streaming services do not have business models that allow them to wait three years to stream their content in France in order to get a theatrical release in France,  that leaves Netflix and other streaming services out of the loop to compete for awards at the Cannes Film Festival.

The United States and many other countries do not have laws mandating a three-year delay between when a movie is released in theaters and when it can be made available for streaming, which is why many critics of this Cannes policy think that the policy is out-of-touch and detrimental to a film festival that should pride itself on being a truly international event. However, those who agree with the Cannes policy believe that the festival has a right to support French cinema laws and preserve the specialness of a theatrical release.

Byung Heebong, Giancarlo Esposito, Steven Yeun, Tilda Swinton, Ahn Seo-Hyun, Bong Joon-Ho, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Jake Gyllenhaal and Devon Bostic at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “Okja” at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, on May 19, 2017. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage for Netflix)

In 2017, the Netflix films “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Both films had a limited release in U.S. theaters, as did Netflix’s period drama “Mudbound” and sports documentary “Icarus,” which did not premiere at Cannes, but were nominated for Academy Awards because they met Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requirements of being released in at least one U.S. cinema for a minimum of one week. (“Icarus” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, the first Academy Award won for a Netflix film.)

It will continue to be a complicated debate over whether or not a movie from a television network or a streaming service should be eligible for the same awards as movies that were first released in theaters, considering that Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services have become major presences at film festivals to acquire movies that have already been made and need distribution—as opposed to movies that were specifically made for the streaming services. For example, “Mudbound” and “Icarus” were two of several films that Netflix acquired after the movies premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Sofia Coppola and Nicole Kidman at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “The Beguiled” in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival)

As for the ban on taking selfies on the red carpet, Fremaux told Le Film Français why Cannes officials made the decision: “At the top of the red carpet, the pettiness and the hold up caused by the untimely disorder created by taking selfies hurts the quality of the climbing of the steps … And it does the same to the festival as a whole.”

What’s bizarre about this ban is that while taking selfies are prohibited on the red carpet, autograph signing is apparently still allowed. Even if barriers were set up on the red carpet that would put a larger distance between celebrities and fans, there are still some celebrities and other people on the red carpet who will want to go over to fans and let them take pictures and get autographs. (And it could be argued that signing autographs take about the same time, if not more time, than taking selfies.)

Most people would agree that fan interaction is one of the main reasons why red-carpet premieres are exciting to attendees. The success of these types of events are largely dependent on the number of cheering fans who show up, and the fans are usually there to get photos and/or try to get autographs. So unless the Cannes Film Festival is planning to take away fans’ cell phones and cameras and push celebrities away who want to take photos with fans, this “no selfies on the red carpet” policy will be hard to enforce and probably won’t last.

2017 Cannes Film Festival: ‘The Square’ wins Palme d’Or; complete list of winners

Cannes Festival logo

May 28, 2017

The 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival took place from May 17 to May 28, 2017. Here is the complete list of of the event’s winners, voted for by appointed juries, and awarded at Grand Théâtre Lumière in Cannes, France, on May 28, 2017.


PALME D’OR (Best Picture)

“THE SQUARE” directed by Ruben ÖSTLUND

The Palme d’or was awarded by Juliette Binoche and Pedro Almodóvar.


Nicole Kidman

The 70th Anniversary Award was awarded by Will Smith.



“120 BATTEMENTS PAR MINUTE (BPM – Beats Per Minute)” directed by Robin CAMPILLO

The Grand Prix was awarded by Costa-Gavras and Agnès Jaoui.


Sofia Coppola for “THE BEGUILED”

The Best Director Prize was awarded by Fan BingBing and Gabriel Yared.


Joaquin Phoenix in “YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE” directed by Lynne Ramsay

The Best Performance by an Actor Prize was awarded by Jessica Chastain.


Diane Kruger in “AUS DEM NICHTS (In The Fade)” directed by Fatih Akin

The Best Performance by an Actress Prize was awarded by Irène Jacob and Paolo Sorrentino


“NELYUBOV (Loveless)” directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

The Jury Prize was awarded by Maren Ade and Guillaume Gallienne.


Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou for “THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER”


The Best Screenplay Prize was awarded by Marisa Paredes and Park Chan-wook.



“XIAO CHENG ER YUE (A Gentle Night)” directed by Qiu Yang


“KATTO (The Ceiling)” directed by Teppo Airaksinen

The Palme d’or and the Jury Special Mention for Shorts Films were awarded by Uma Thurman and Cristian Mungiu.



“LERD (A Man of Integrity)” directed by Mohammad Rasoulof


Jasmine Trinca for “FORTUNATA” directed by Sergio Castellitto


“BARBARA” directed by Mathieu Amalric


Taylor Sheridan for “WIND RIVER”


“LAS HIJAS DE ABRIL (April’s Daughter)” directed by Michel Franco


“JEUNE FEMME (Montparnasse Bienvenüe)” directed by Léonor Serraille presented as part of UN CERTAIN REGARD

The Caméra d’or Prize was awarded by Sandrine Kiberlain, President of the Caméra d’or Jury.



“PAUL EST LÀ (Paul Is Here)” directed by Valentina Maurel
INSAS, Belgium


“HEYVAN (AniMal)” directed by Bahram & Bahman Ark
Iranian National School of Cinema, Iran


“DEUX ÉGARÉS SONT MORTS (Two Youths Died)” directed by Tommaso Usberti
La Fémis, France

The CST Jury decided to award the VULCAIN PRIZE FOR ARTIST-TECHNICIAN to: Josefin Asberh for her remarkable artistic contribution to match the inventiveness of the film THE SQUARE.

2017 Cannes Film Festival: Event Photos and Videos

Cannes Film Festival logo

The 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 17 to May 28, 2017. Here are some photos and videos from the event.


“Wind River”

“The Square”

“The Meyerowitz Stories”

The Wrap’s Cannes Influencer Dinner

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

“Top of the Lake: China Girl”

de Grisogono “Love on the Rocks” High Jewellery Collection and Eden Roc Party