The entire board of directors of the Cesar Academy, which rewards France's equivalent to the Oscars, resigned just two weeks before its gala ceremony Thursday after more than 200 actors, producers, directors and film personalities demanded a "Deep reform".
The academy came under fire after director Roman Polanski's new film An Officer and a Spy tops the list of nominations for this year's Cesar Awards, which will be awarded on February 28.
Polanski has been wanted in the United States for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since 1978 and is a persona non grata in Hollywood.
"To pay tribute to the men and women who made cinema in 2019, to regain calm and ensure that the film festival remains only that, a festival, the board of directors ... decided unanimously to resign, "the academy said in a statement.
"This collective decision will allow the complete renewal of the board of directors," he added.
A general assembly will be held after the next awards ceremony to elect a new board of directors and a new leadership to work on implementing reforms and modernization, he said.
More than 200 actors, producers, directors and film personalities denounced the academy's "dysfunction" and "opacity" in its accounts, in an open letter on Wednesday.
They also complained that the founding statutes of the Caesars had not changed for a long time and that the 5,000 or so members of the academy did not get a vote or a say in its decisions.
The academy's board of directors responded that it would ask the National Center for Cinema, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, to appoint a mediator to oversee the "far-reaching reform" of its statutes and governance.
The academy had previously announced measures to increase the representation of women among its members and its representation.
The inclusion of Polanski's film on the shortlist for the Caesars has been condemned by the French Minister for Equality, women's groups and film critics, but the Académie César has declared that it should not be expect her to take "moral positions" when evaluating films.
A number of French feminist groups urged Cesar voters to snub Polanski's film, titled J'accuse en France and called for a demonstration outside the awards ceremony, to be held in the auditorium. of the Salle Pleyel in Paris.
“When we mobilize, things happen! “, Wrote on Twitter the feminist collective Nous Tous.
Another group, Dare Feminism, said, “Imagine what comes next. A new voting panel without self-confidence, opacity and sexism. Will we finally stop applauding rapists and pedophiles on the run? "
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