Dominique Buttons reappointed head of CNC, despite indictment

The Cabinet renewed Dominique Boutont at the head of the committee, this Wednesday, despite the disputed balance sheet and the indictment.

Dominique Boutont was reappointed, Wednesday, at the end of a cabinet meeting, at the head of the National Film Center (CNC), despite the balance sheet that some filmmakers objected to and his indictment for sexual assault, which he refutes.

On April 25, the Public Prosecution Office in Nanterre requested that Dominique Boutont be referred to the criminal court on charges of sexually assaulting Judson, with whom he has no family ties.

In October 2020, a complaint was made by this young man in his twenties, about facts dating back to August 2020 while on vacation in Greece. An indictment ensued in February 2021. According to his lawyer Dominique Buttont, 52, known as a film producer, “strongly disputes all facts.”

During an interview in Parisian In June, Minister of Culture Rima Abdel-Malik called for its renewal, saying: “He is accused and not convicted. The presumption of innocence prevails.”

Complaint of attempted rape

There is no case law requiring the withdrawal or resignation of a civil servant under investigation. But the accusations weigh on Dominique Boutont, in an already tense context after Solidarity Minister Damien Abad, the Minister of Solidarity, did not renew the cabinet reshuffle after legislation, which was targeted by an investigation after an attempted rape complaint.

In addition, several directors, including Jacques Audiard and Pierre Salvadori, who are united within the SRF (Association of Film Directors), have recently criticized the CNC chief’s “outright and often short-lived liberal” policy.

Three years ago, the appointment of this donor to Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign was already poorly done in an environment anxious to see the imposition of a logic based on profitability, jeopardizing authors’ cinema.

“A pioneer in the fight against sexual violence”

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

Following the #MeToo wave, CNC launched a sexual violence prevention training in October 2020 targeting film, audiovisual and video game industry employers (producers, international sellers, distributors, and exhibitors).

Since January 1, 2021, the assignment and payment of all CNC aids is subject to recipients’ compliance with sexual harassment prevention obligations, such as continuing this training or assigning a mandatory harassment reference. More than 250 employees.

Dominique Boutont, who started his career in insurance, had to fight hard for a sector that was badly affected by the restrictions imposed during the pandemic (closing rooms, metering devices, etc.).

competition platform

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

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

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

A ray of hope: In June, thanks to the Film Festival and its four-euro-for-all tickets, darkrooms achieved 10.86 million admissions, down 13% compared to the same month in 2019.

The seventh art should also find its marks in the face of fierce competition from American platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney +.

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