Dominique Boutonnat reappointed as head of the CNC despite his indictment

Dominique Boutonnat reappointed as head of the CNC despite his indictment

CINEMA – Dominique Boutonnat was reappointed at the head of the National Cinema Center (CNC) at the end of the Council of Ministers this Wednesday, July 20, despite a balance sheet criticized by certain filmmakers and an indictment after accusations of sexual assault which he disputes.

On April 25, the Nanterre prosecution requested the referral to the criminal court of Dominique Boutonnat, 52, for sexual assault on his godson, with whom he has no family ties. A complaint had been filed by this 22-year-old young man a year and a half earlier, for facts dating from August 2020 during a vacation in Greece. The indictment took place in February 2021.

Asked about this point in early June, the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, considered that “the presumption of innocence prevails” then and welcomed the results of Dominique Boutonnat at the head of the CNC, in particular during the pandemic. In an interview at Parisian shortly after, she described him as “the boss of a CNC who faced the crisis and who, moreover, was a pioneer in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence” by conditioning aid on specific training to these themes.

Rima Abdul Malak arrested

“It’s still a bit baroque to have a boss of the CNC indicted for sexual assault who asks the entire profession to follow such training”, ironically in the columns of the Worldan operator shortly before the announcement of the reappointment of Dominique Boutonnat.

In a letter directly addressed to Rima Abdul Malak and transmitted to the HuffPost, the 50/50 collective which promotes equality, parity and diversity in the cinematographic and audiovisual industry demanded that the Minister propose another candidate to take the helm of the CNC. “While waiting for justice to be done, we know that you will of course be keen to preserve institutions, protect republican symbols, and support the victims who, around the world, are making their voices heard with great courage”, hoped the collective.

No case law requires the withdrawal or resignation of a civil servant under investigation. But these accusations weigh on this well-known film producer, 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 an attempt to rape.

A contested record

If the indictment of Dominique Boutonnat in the middle of his first mandate “forced him to minimize his public appearances”, it “did not prevent him from defending the interests of French cinema during the pandemic” underlines The world. In the midst of the Covid crisis, he had managed to obtain aid of 310 million euros (in addition to government aid granted to all companies), including 211 million for cinema operators, 38 million for producers, and 54 million for distributors. “No cultural sector in France or in any other country has received so much aid.”

However, his record is not unanimous. 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.

In a press release dated Wednesday July 13, they wrote: “It would be incomprehensible if Dominique Boutonnat’s mandate were renewed”. And to denounce the “growing blurring of the boundaries between cinema and audiovisual, the redistribution of aid in favor of films already supported by the market, the multiplication, within the commissions, of performance and profitability criteria” established by this technocrat came from the world of insurance.

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. While here it is renewed for three new years, the professionals are already preparing, according to Release“the holding of general meetings in the fall to take stock”.

See also on The HuffPost: 4 tips to arm your children against sexual violence

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