Byrd Theatre GM at Cannes Film Festival, will be official judge

One of cinema’s leading events will take place on the French Riviera beginning tomorrow. This year’s Cannes Film Festival will feature, not only a parade of “who’s who” celebrities, but also the manager of the Byrd Theatre.

This year’s Cannes Film Festival will feature Hollywood stars, ground-breaking auteurs, and a little bit of Richmond. Attending this year’s festival is Todd Schall-Vess, general manager of the Byrd Theatre.

“It’s a lot to see,” said Schall-Vess via cell phone while on a train headed to Cannes from Paris yesterday afternoon. While people have joked that he will be hobnobbing with Hollywood stars, Schall-Vess is more practical in his expectations. “I’ll be spending most of my time in a dark theater.”

He will be a jury member for this year’s Vulcain Prize, which lauds technical mastery in film. Schall-Vess was chosen by French director Pierre-William Glenn, president of the Superior Technical Commission of Image and Sound. It will be Schall-Vess’s first time attending the famous film festival. “I’m excited to actually be there,” said Schall-Vess.

While he will learn details when he meets with film festival officials today, he has heard that, while jurors take their roles seriously, “there’s not any sort of formalized process” to deliberation. This year’s winner may very well be decided over lunch in a cafe.

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most respected and revered film-related events. Schall-Vess believes it’s for good reason. “Having your film shown here is the filmmaking equivalent of traveling to the Holy Land.” He said that a well-received film brings with it “bragging rights in the industry.” As a jury member, Schall-Vess will have a small role in deciding which films generate buzz.

“I’m probably not going to have a lot of time to do anything else,” said Schall-Vess about his trip to the French Riviera. Anything except watch movies, of course.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16th to May 27th.

stock photo by Daniel Leininger

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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