Friday May 15th – The American Pavilion at Cannes was honored to have Martin Scorsese in attendance while Roger Ebert cut the ribbon for the conference room renamed in honor of the esteemed critic.
The American Pavilion has been a fixture at the Cannes Film Festival for 21 years, and Roger Ebert has been a strong presence throughout its existence, dedicating a lot of his time to hosting or moderating many panels, discussions, and presentations. So it was only natural that those running the Pavilion (Director Julie Sisk and Managing Director Lynn McCreary) would choose to honor the preeminent voice of modern American film criticism with the renaming of the well known and frequented conference room.
The ceremony was a simple and casually elegant affair, with key representatives from the film festival as well as Nice city officials participating in the festivities. Pavilion Director Julie Sisk officiated over the dedication and spoke about the Pavilion’s long and warm history with Ebert. Sisk then introduced the Cannes Festival Director, Thierry Fremaux, who also spoke of Ebert’s key involvement with the Festival and his connection to the Festival’s ever changing, ever-growing relevance in the film world. He in turn handed the microphone over to one of Roger Ebert’s favorite targets, Martin Scorsese, who warmly prodded his old friend with a reminder of their less than congenial times when Ebert did not always have a kind word for the filmmaker’s work. Scorsese continued to bestow heartfelt praise upon Ebert as he held court at the American Pavilion entrance as the paparazzi constantly and adamantly covered this American Pavilion milestone.
Ebert graciously stood by with his wife, Chaz, accepting the well-earned praise. As the kudos subsided he responded (aided by a computer) with a lovely personal and touching thank you for all those involved at the American Pavilion, the Cannes Film Festival, Martin Scorsese, and the attendees who keep coming year after year, making the Cannes Film Festival the film event it has become today. With Martin Scorsese by his side, Ebert and his wife cut the red ribbon spanning the American Pavilion’s entrance, officially opening the Roger Ebert Conference Room doors to the Cannes public, and for future generations of festival attendees.
Photo: Mike Gendimenico