The celebrated arthouse filmmaker Rithy Panh resigned two days ago from his role as president of the jury for the festival’s inaugural TikTok short film competition, citing “a persistent disagreement over the independence and sovereignty of the jury”.
In an interview with French publication L’Obs, the filmmaker has further explained his decision, citing pressure on the jury choices from the European team of the China-owned social network.
“The difficulty is that TikTok is a marketing-focused company and fails to understand creators and their independence…They kept asking me for reports on our progress, even though we hadn’t even seen each other,” he said.
The filmmaker added that the platform gave too many “suggestions” on who should win prizes, often in favour of the biggest productions made by well-established creators, and for the least politicized works.
“It is not a question of denigrating the creations, which were all interesting, only to choose between the big professional team with big means, 20 extras and a director of photography, and the little guy who filmed his friends with great poetry and a committed message, I think we should reward the second film.”
He concluded: “I had no choice but to resign my role. A competition with a jury must rhyme with total independence in the choices. I regret that was not the case.”
TikTok became an official partner of Cannes this year. The short film competition was a key part of the collaboration.
It is not clear what happens next regarding the competition and collaboration. We have reached out to Panh and the festival for comment. THR was first to report on Panh’s resignation.