CANNES, France – The shorts made on TikTok haven’t been seen on the big screen at the Grand Théâtre Lumière yet, but last week the video app was still accused of a mistake that was: trying to influence jury decisions.
In March, TikTok announce it will be official partner for the Cannes Film Festival this year. Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s artistic director, was quoted as saying that the collaboration was “part of the desire to diversify the audience” of the festival. Billboards reading “ceci n’est pas un film, c’est un vidéo TikTok” loom over awnings across the street from one of the main cinemas here.
TikTok has also announced a competition for short films shot on its app. Although the competition is not an official festival event, the competition had a jury chaired by the Cambodian-born filmmaker. Rethy Banha survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime who was a regular in Cannes with films such as “The Lost Picture” and “Exile”.
but that He resigned as jury chief on WednesdayTwo days before the awards were handed out, he said, to return to his role Friday morning, hours before the awards ceremony. Ban said by email that he resigned because TikTok “appeared to want to influence our decision on award winners,” and that he returned to his position when the company agreed to honor a jury verdict.
“Their world, not the art world,” Banh said in an interview later Friday afternoon, sitting on a sofa on the rooftop of the beachfront restaurant where he and four fellow jurors had just handed out the awards.
While he declined to name names, Ban said that some TikTok employees wanted to choose different winners from the jury’s shortlist. He said it was “several TikTok people”. “One or two were very aggressive, very stubborn and very closed off.”
TikTok released a statement that appeared to attribute any problem to regular controversies in selecting winners. “As with any creative competition in which the selection of the winner is open to subjective interpretation, there may be differences in artistic opinion from the independent jury,” the statement said.
Even after obtaining a guarantee that the jury’s choices would be respected, Ban said his first instinct was not to return to the jury. But he said he eventually came back for the filmmakers. He added that some traveled to Cannes from as far away as Japan or New Zealand. “You can’t shatter their dream, you know?”
Friday’s party was hosted by Terry LTAM, a social media personality, who asked jurors about their experience watching the shorts. Sudanese director Basma Khalifa said the judging process changed her view on the platform. “I haven’t given TikTok enough credit, I don’t think, for how much you can do with it,” she said.
Filmmakers from 44 countries submitted films to the competition, all between 30 seconds and three minutes in length. The first prize was shared between two directors: Maputa Motoki, from Japan, who Movie Showing a man meticulously constructing a wooden trough, Matej Remanek, a 21-year-old Slovenian director, showed a comedic foot black and white short Two people flirt with a kite. Remanek said working on social media platforms sparked his interest in making films.
“I started posting videos on Vine, then I went to Instagram and then TikTok appeared, so I started posting on TikTok,” he said in an interview shortly after receiving his award, a gold-colored figurine in the shape of the TikTok logo. “Now during this transition because I’m posting to videos on social media, I’ve discovered my love for filmmaking.”
It was his first time in Cannes, either to attend the festival or to visit the city. “I hope one day I can come here with my feature film,” he said. “I only make comedy because the world needs more laughs.”