Dominique Boutonnat reappointed as head of the CNC, despite his indictment

Dominique Boutonnat reappointed as head of the CNC, despite his indictment

The Council of Ministers renewed Dominique Boutonnat at the head of the CNC, this Wednesday, despite a disputed balance sheet and an indictment.

Dominique Boutonnat was reappointed Wednesday, at the end of the Council of Ministers, at the head of the National Cinema Center (CNC), despite a balance sheet disputed by certain filmmakers and his indictment for accusations of sexual assault that he refutes.

On April 25, the Nanterre prosecution requested the referral to the criminal court of Dominique Boutonnat for sexual assault on his godson, with whom he has no family ties.

In October 2020, a complaint was filed by this young man in his twenties, for facts dating from August 2020 during a vacation in Greece. An indictment followed in February 2021. According to his lawyer, Dominique Boutonnat, 52, known as a film producer, “firmly disputes all the facts”.

During an interview at Parisian in June, the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, had campaigned for his renewal: “He is indicted, not sentenced. The presumption of innocence prevails”.

Complaint for attempted rape

No case law requires the withdrawal or resignation of a civil servant under investigation. But these accusations weigh on Dominique Boutonnat, in an already tense context after the non-renewal, in the post-legislative reshuffle, of the Minister of Solidarity Damien Abad, targeted by an investigation following a complaint for attempted rape.

In addition, several directors, including Jacques Audiard and Pierre Salvadori, united within the SRF (Society of film directors), have recently criticized the “openly liberal and too often short-termist” policy of the president of the CNC.

The appointment, three years ago, of this donor to Emmanuel Macron’s electoral campaign had already gone badly in an environment worried about seeing the imposition of a logic based on profitability, endangering auteur cinema.

“Pioneer against the fight against sexual violence”

The Minister of Culture stepped up to defend his record: “He is the boss of a CNC which has faced the crisis and which, moreover, has been a pioneer in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence”.

After the #MeToo wave, the CNC launched training in October 2020 to prevent sexual violence, aimed at film, audiovisual and video game employers (producers, international sellers, distributors and exhibitors).

Since January 1, 2021, the allocation and payment of all CNC aid is subject to the recipients’ compliance with the obligations to prevent sexual harassment, such as the follow-up of this training or the appointment of a mandatory harassment referent. for structures with more than 250 employees.

Dominique Boutonnat, who began his career in insurance, had to fight hard for a sector very hard hit by the restrictions put in place during the pandemic (closing of rooms, gauges, etc.).

Platform competition

In addition to the government aid granted to all French companies (for partial unemployment, for example), cinema exhibitors have benefited since the start of the health crisis from a windfall of 221 million euros, producers from 38 million and distributors of 53 million.

Many challenges await Dominique Boutonnat. First of all, to recover cinema attendance in a context of declining purchasing power, while the number of spectators has not fully returned to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the latest figures from the CNC, French cinemas, one of the densest networks in the world, sold 72.95 million tickets in the first six months of the year, a drop in attendance of 30.6%. compared to the first half of 2019, a record year.

A glimmer of hope: in June, thanks to the Film Festival and its tickets at four euros for all, dark rooms achieved 10.86 million admissions, a decrease of 13% compared to the same month of 2019 .

The 7th art must also find its marks in the face of ever fiercer competition from American platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

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