Boutonnat’s credits as co-producer and associate producer include hits Heartbreaker and The Intouchables, respectively. He most recently produced 2017 feature thriller Money.
This is a controversial appointment, however. The French industry reacted strongly earlier this month following the departure of president Frédérique Bredin, who held the post since 2013. Citing a conflict of interest, more than 70 filmmakers publicly condemned the selection of Boutonnat.
Prominent directors including Jacques Audiard, Nicole Garcia and Michel Hazanavicius penned an open letter in which they accused French President Emmanuel Macron of “having apparently rejected all other nominations for his benefit.” Boutonnat was a significant donor to Macron’s 2016 presidential campaign, local media has reported.
Boutonnat this year also authored a government-commissioned report on propping up the film business via private investment. This did not sit well with champions of France’s cinematic diversity.
The linchpin to France’s generous financing system, the tax-backed CNC’s main function is to oversee and administer funding for local production, but its future in that area has recently come under threat, making its next president of high stakes importance to the industry.
Along with the Boutonnat report, another, presented by members of Macron’s La République en Marche party, suggested overhauls at the CNC including a capping of the budget and the removal of its oversight.
Bredin was opposed to such reforms and although she had been expected to continue in her post for at least some time past the expiry of her mandate, she called it quits earlier this month.
Boutonnat’s appointment marks a break with tradition which has typically seen high-ranking civil servants in the post.