Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker to be awarded the Honorary Palme d’or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival
Following Jodie Foster in 2021, Academy Award Winning Actor Forest Whitaker will be the honorary guest at the Opening Ceremony of the 75th Festival de Cannes, to be broadcasted live by France Télévisions and Brut. After Jeanne Moreau, Bernardo Bertolucci, Manoel de Oliveira, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Agnès Varda, or Alain Delon, he will be the new recipient of the honorary Palme d’or, which pays tribute to a sparkling artistic journey, a rare personality as well as a discreet but strong humanitarian commitment to key topical issues.
On this occasion, For the Sake of Peace, directed by Christophe Castagne & Thomas Sametin and produced by Forest Whitaker, will be screened in Special Screening Wednesday, May 18.
34 years ago, attending Cannes for the first time changed my life, and assured me that I’d made the right decision to devote myself to finding connectivity in humanity through film. It’s always a privilege to return to this beautiful festival to both screen my own work, and to be inspired by many of the world’s greatest artists – and I feel incredibly honored to be celebrated as part of the Festival’s momentous 75th anniversary.
Honorary Palme d’or of the 75th Festival de Cannes
Forest Whitaker is a legend who leaves an indelible impression: on film, on viewers, and on government decision-makers.
His career path and his aura were fully revealed when he came to the Festival de Cannes in 1988 and appeared on the silver screen as the genius Charlie Parker, the visionary jazzman who took the saxophone to a higher, unprecedented dimension. He was beside Clint Eastwood in Bird, his first lead role, although he had already stood out in Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money, Oliver Stone’s Platoon, and Barry Levinson’s Good Morning, Vietnam. At the age of 27, he was awarded the Prize for Best Actor at the Festival de Cannes for his Bird performance. The whole world discovered an actor with phenomenal power, in tune with a sensitivity that spells a form of grace, a mass of feelings that conveys human fragility through the voice and in the eyes.
“When welcoming Forest Whitaker to Cannes, I was able to meet and admire an artist with intense charisma and a luminous presence”, declares Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate. “His filmography is both dazzling and fully accomplished. I also observed closely his convictions as a man, and the attention he carries for the young generation. Through his faith in a better world and his commitment, he contributes to making it a better place. Rare are the artists that reach such a beautiful balance, and Forest achieves it and sets an example”.
“It is a tradition for the Festival de Cannes to honor those who made its history and Forest Whitaker is one of them”, adds Pierre Lescure, Festival de Cannes President. “He is this young actor that Clint Eastwood revealed in Bird and that man who broadens his view of the world to offer it to those who suffer and those who fight. The full honors belong to Whitaker. This Palme d’or is a gesture of gratitude from the world of cinema”.
Forest Whitaker returned six times in the Official Selection and four times in the Competition, with Bird and then Bill Duke’s A Rage in Harlem, Abel Ferrara’s Body Snatchers, and Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai which defies categorization and in which he plays the part of a melancholy hitman who lives his life according to the « Hagakure », the code of honor of medieval Japanese samurais. Chock-full of power and yet very flexible, he embodies a playful, pondering hero who is driven by mysterious forces.
Films such as The Crying Game, Smoke, Panic Room, Phone Booth, The Last King of Scotland (Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actor), Street Kings, Southpaw, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Black Panther, The Butler, and Respect show his multiple facets and eclectic choices. We can also mention Zulu by Jérôme Salle, closing the 2013 Festival.
In addition to his filmography as an actor, he has also directed 4 feature films (Strapped, Waiting to Exhale, Hope Floats, First Daughter) and produced such films as Ryan Coogler’s stirring Fruitvale Station presented in Un Certain Regard as well as the exhilarating Dope, and more recently Songs my Brothers Taught Me by Chloé Zhao.
Forest Whitaker’s artistic career sharply resonates with his humanitarian engagement. In 2012, he founded the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), an NGO which acts in Uganda, South Sudan, Mexico, South Africa, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, and even Los Angeles. Working for peace and economic resilience in territories marked by armed conflict and violence, WPDI has helped more than one million and a half people, thanks to a network composed of more than 2,500 leading youths and 14 learning centers. Forest Whitaker is UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group.
FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE
South Sudan is the youngest country in the world, at war with itself, with over 350,000 people killed since its inception in 2011. However, through this darkness, its endless cycle of conflict has hope: the determination of young women and men who refuse to give up on peace. Gatjang, a referee in a refugee camp of Juba, uses sports to bring a culture of peace to children and youths from adverse tribes. And Nandege, a young mother, becomes a successful mediator against all odds to address a lethal conflict that has opposed communities of the Kidepo Valley for generations. Through their stories, we gain awareness of the paths open to our humanity, which resonates across backgrounds and borders.
A film by Christophe Castagne and Thomas Sametin
Editing: Julien Lecat and Matthieu Bretaud
With Nandege Magdalena Lokoro and Gatjang Dagor
Produced by The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, Significant Productions, and R2
Ruben Östlund President of the Jury of the 76th Festival de Cannes
50 years after fellow citizen Ingrid Bergman, Swedish director Ruben Östlund, a two-time winner of the Palme d’or, will preside over the Jury o
« I am happy, proud, and humbled to be trusted with the honor of Jury president for this year’s Competition at the Festival de Cannes. Nowhere in the film world is the anticipation as strong as when the curtain rises on the films in Competition at the Festival. It is a privilege to be part of it, together with the Cannes audience of connoisseurs. I am sincere when I say that cinema culture is in its most important period ever. The cinema has a unique aspect – there, we watch together, and it demands more on what is shown and increases the intensity of the experience. It makes us reflect in a different way than when we dopamine scroll in front of the individual screens », declared the futur President Ruben Östlund.
With a track record of only 6 features, the filmmaker was already selected twice at Un Certain Regard, where he was awarded the Jury Prize in 2014, before later entering the Competition. No sooner does he appears there that the Palme d’Or is awarded to him twice; first for The Square at the 70th Festival de Cannes, and then for his next film acclaimed last year, Triangle of Sadness.
After studying cinema in Gothenburg, he directed his first feature film, The Guitar Mongoloid, in 2004. On the edge of the documentary genre, the film describes the intersecting destinies of outcasts in a fictional city that closely resembles Gothenburg. Humor as a tool of sociological description is already apparent.
His next short film, Autobiographical Scene Number 6882, gathers all the ingredients of his future work, which are affirmed in Involuntary, a feature film selected at Un Certain Regard in 2008. Östlund positions the camera at a relevant distance to better observe human behavior: small weaknesses and major flaws caused by group dynamics are then dissected to the point of discomfort. Two years later, Incident by a Bank won the Golden Bear for best short film at the 60th Berlinale – it examines the reactions of passers-by to a bank robbery. His third feature film, Play, which was presented at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 2011, describes harassment between youth gangs. When it was released in Sweden it gave rise to a major debate across Swedish society.
In Force Majeure, which was screened at Un Certain Regard in 2014, the situation takes on the aspect of an avalanche where a father prefers to take cover rather than save his wife and children: how can he accept the aftermath, in bad faith and in fear of losing face? Such is the issue that the director examines with ferocious acidity.
Ruben Östlund repeatedly explores a provocative dialectic which has become his signature: an initial situation sets the stage for a sociological examination where the baser instincts of our humanity are painstakingly and uncompromisingly examined with corrosive humor.
In 2017, in The Square, he tells the fictional story of an artistic experiment he conducted in his native country. The film addresses brilliantly the boundaries of public space, art and the animal aspects within ourselves.
Finally, in 2022, Triangle of Sadness chronicles a cruise ship caught in a storm that reshuffles the cards of class struggle in Western societies in a nauseating hullabaloo.
By inviting Ruben Östlund to preside over the Jury, the Festival de Cannes wishes to pay a tribute to films that are uncompromising and forthright and which constantly demand that viewers challenge themselves and that art continue to invent itself.
Ruben Östlund has therefore become the third two-time winner of the Palme d’or to be the President of the Jury, following Francis Ford Coppola and Emir Kusturica, and the very first to take on this role the year after his acclaim in Cannes.
« As President, concludes Ruben Östlund, I will remind my colleagues in the Jury about the social function of the cinema. A good movie relates to the collective experience, stimulates us to think and makes us want to discuss what we have seen – So let’s watch together! ».
f the 76th edition of the Festival de Cannes to be held from May 16 to 27.
The Official Selection of the Festival de Cannes at the Oscars 2023
The Academy Awards nominations were announced this Tuesday, January 24th. The Festival de Cannes is delighted to see the films of the Official Selection, represented in 15 categories and cumulating 21 nominations: Best Picture, Directing, Actor in a leading role, Visual effects, Cinematography, Film editing, Production design, Makeup and hairstyling, International feature, Documentary feature, Short Film (Live Action), Original song, Original screenplay, Adapted screenplay, Sound and Costume design.
The Festival de Cannes wishes good luck to all these artists for the ceremony to be held on Sunday, March 12 in Los Angeles.
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Out of Competition
Actor in a leading role (Austin Butler)
Cinematography (Mandy Walker)
Film editing (Matt Villa, Jonathan Redmond)
Production design (Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, Bev Dunn)
Makeup and hairstyling (Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, Aldo Signoretti)
Sound (David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, Michael Keller)
Costume design (Catherine Martin)
TOP GUN: MAVERICK
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Out of Competition
Visual effects (Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson , Scott R. Fisher)
Film editing (Eddie Hamilton)
Music – Original song (Hold My Hand by Lady Gaga and BloodPop)
Writing – Adapted screenplay (Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig, Justin Marks)
Sound (Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor)
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Competition – Palme d’or
Directing (Ruben Östlund)
Writing – Original screeplay (Ruben Östlund)
ALL THAT BREATHES
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Special screenings
Documentary feature film
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Competition – Grand Prix
International feature film
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Competition – Jury Prize
International feature film
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Premiered as part of the “Rendez-vous avec”
Short Film (Live Action)
The Festival de Cannes demands the immediate release of filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi
On Friday, July 8, 2022, Iranian filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad were arrested and imprisoned at an unknown location for protesting against violence against civilians in Iran. Mohammad Rasoulof had already been deprived of his freedom of movement and work since 2017, following the screening of his film A Man of Integrity, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes. His films Manuscripts Don’t Burn, which won the Fipresci Prize in 2013 and Goodbye, which won the Best Director Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2011, had also been screened in Cannes. He had subsequently won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival in 2020 with There is No Evil.
Today, on Monday, July 11, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was also arrested in Tehran. The director presented numerous works at Cannes, including Three Faces, which was selected in Competition in 2018 and awarded the Prize for Best Screenplay, as well as Crimson Gold, which won the Jury Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2003. Jafar Panahi also won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 2015 for his film Taxi.
The Festival de Cannes strongly condemns these arrests as well as the wave of repression obviously in progress in Iran against its artists. The Festival calls for the immediate release of Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi.
The Festival de Cannes also wishes to reassert its support to all those who, throughout the world, are subjected to violence and repression. The Festival remains and will always remain a haven for artists from all over the world and it will relentlessly be at their service in order to convey their voices loud and clear, in the defense of freedom of creation and freedom of speech.