In a historic decision, the Cannes Film Festival, the world’s most celebrated festival of cinema, has appointed Iris Knobloch as its first-ever woman president.
The appointment was announced following a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Association Française du Festival International du Film which includes government officials and film industry members.
As per the festival’s regulations, the election was held via secret ballot, the festival said in a statement. Knobloch will take office on July 1 and her three-year mandate will cover 2023, 2024, and 2025 editions.
“I feel deeply honoured that France has elected me President of the Festival de Cannes. As a heartfelt European, I have always stood for cinema throughout my career, both in France and internationally, and I’m thrilled to be able to give my all so that this world event remains influential – it’s a major event that is key to keeping alive the cultural life of a world that, more than ever, desperately needs it,” Knobloch said after her appointment was announced.
Cannes Film Festival’s General Delegate Thierry Frémaux said on the appointment, “My team and I are thrilled to see Iris Knobloch join us. Her election will help strengthen the Festival’s resolve to stay as close to its beliefs as possible. We have many challenges coming our way and we will do our utmost to make sure cinema and the Festival that embodies it, occupy the position they deserve while strongly affirming their artistic and political necessity.”
As a trilingual lawyer who received law degrees from Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich and New York University, Knobloch has earlier served for 25 years in various leadership roles at WarnerMedia, including 15 years as the CEO of Warner Bros. France. In 2020, she became the CEO of WarnerMedia France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Shortly after she left the company, with a proven track record in entertainment and leisure and a strong international network, she co-founded I2PO in July 2021, the first European SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) dedicated to this industry. In 2008, she was bestowed with Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, one of France’s top civilian honours.