Snubbed film director sues Cannes Festival

An aggrieved Parisian film director has launched the first ever lawsuit against Cannes Film Festival, claiming selectors rejected his movie because of "homophobia".

Snubbed film director sues Cannes Festival
The film Teenagers, whose director believes was rejected from Canned due to homophobia. Photo: Screengrab

Paul Verhoeven, who has the same name as the Dutch movie maker behind Hollywood hits such as Basic Instinct and Robocop, is suing Cannes, claiming his film ‘Teenagers’ was rejected because it offended “homophobic” selectors.

Verhoeven’s lawsuit is the first ever filed against the festival since it was founded in 1946.

The 73-year-old’s low budget film was shown at festivals around the world, but was turned down after being submitted to Cannes.

His suspicions were aroused after he emailed a representative to ask why his film was rejected. He was then accidentally copied in on an email which referred to his film as ethically “very doubtful”.

(Paul Verghoeven, 73, is suing Cannes. Photo: Paul Verhoeven) 

In a video deposition to judges Verhoeven claimed his film had the potential to be powerful enough to “turn young people away from terrorism, suicide, delinquency and homophobia.”

He demands Cannes festival either show the film this year or pay for it to be screened in cinemas.

Verhoeven’s accusations might be slightly undermined by the fact that in 2013, the Palme d’Or was won by the erotic lesbian love story Blue is the Warmest Colour.

A spokesman for Cannes has called the lawsuit “absurd” and that Cannes rejects hundreds of films each year

A ruling is due later this month.

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Cannes Film Festival postponed to July due to Covid

The Cannes Film Festival has been rescheduled for July 6th to 17th - postponed by around two months due to the ongoing virus crisis, organisers said on Wednesday.

Cannes Film Festival postponed to July due to Covid
The 2018 Palme d'Or winner Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda posing for the cameras at the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual highlight for movie lovers in France. Photo: AFP

“As announced last autumn, the Festival de Cannes reserved the right to change its dates depending on how the global health situation developed,” they said in a statement.

“Initially scheduled from 11th to 22nd May 2021, the Festival will therefore now take place from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 17th July 2021.”

The festival was cancelled last year, while rival European events in Berlin and Venice went ahead under strict health restrictions.

The Berlin Film Festival, which usually kicks off in February, said last month it would run this year's edition in two stages, an online offering for industry professionals in March and a public event in June.

France has closed all cinemas, theatres and show rooms alongside cafés, bars and restaurants as part of its Covid-19 health measures and the government has pushed back their reopening date until further notice due to rising levels of viral spread across the country.

The Cannes festival normally attracts some 45,000 people with official accreditations, of whom around 4,500 are journalists.

It had only been cancelled once before, due to the outbreak of war in 1939.

Its Film Market, held alongside the main competition, is the industry's biggest marketplace for producers, distributors, buyers and programmers.

Last year, the festival still made an official selection of 56 films – including the latest offerings from Wes Anderson, Francois Ozon and Steve McQueen – allowing them to use the “Cannes official selection” label.