Directors’ Fortnight Launches Cannes’ First Audience Award In Memory Of Chantal Akerman

Cannes Directors’ Fortnight is launching a new People’s Choice audience award at its upcoming edition, running alongside the main festival from May 15-26.

The parallel section said the award, which comes with a €7,500 ($8,100) cash prize, was in keeping with the spirit of the event, which has always been open to members of the public alongside cinema professionals since its launch in 1969.

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It will be the first audience award to be introduced in Cannes, across the Official Selection and the parallel sections of Directors’ Fortnight, Critics’ Week and Acid.

“Every year, in addition to professionals and other accredited guests, the Fortnight opens its doors to thousands of cinephiles from around the world, in order to share its selection in a welcoming setting, giving filmmakers the opportunity to meet the first audience for their films, and the audiences a chance to take part in Q&As with film teams,” Directors’ Fortnight said in a statement.

“It is this interactive dimension that we’d like to celebrate today by inviting our audiences to vote: this will also mark the first audience award in the history of the Festival de Cannes,” it added.

Directors’ Fortnight said the new award would be connected to the legacy of Chantal Akerman and that the cash prize was being supported by the Fondation Chantal Akerman.

The section suggested that the late filmmaker’s “pioneering, eclectic and fiercely independent vision might serve as a compass” for the new award.

Groundbreaking Belgian filmmaker Akerman, who died at the age of 65 in 2015, had close ties with Directors Fortnight.

Her breakthrough film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce – 1080 Brussel, which is now regarded as 20th Century feature film classic, world premiered in the section in 1975.

Directors’ Fortnight also welcomed subsequent works Golden Eighties (1986), South (1999), The Captive (2000) and Tombée de Nuit sur Shanghaï (2007), her segment in the portmanteau film State of the World with Ayisha Abraham and Wang Bing.

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