Over 200 actors, producers, directors and movie personalities were protesting against the dozen nomination of embattled filmmaker Roman Polanski for this year’s César Awards holding on February 28 at the Salle Pleyel theatre in Paris.
In a letter of resignation, the Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques board wrote that they were resigning “to honour those who made the cinema in 2019, to regain serenity, and to make the cinema festival a celebration.”
Earlier this week, hundreds of academy members signed an open letter calling for the “democratization” and a “complete overhaul” of the organization. The group took issue with the fact that they had no say in running the body or the César Awards themselves. Signatories sought to “revolutionize” the way the body operated, including the appointment of board directors, who were unelected.
Polanski is wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since 1978 and is persona non grata in Hollywood.
The academy in response said it would ask the National Centre for Cinema, a culture ministry agency, to appoint a mediator to oversee "deep reform" of its statutes and governance.
The academy had previously announced measures to boost female representation in its membership and representation.
The inclusion of Polanski's film on the Cesars' shortlist was condemned by France's equality minister, women's groups and film critics, but the Cesar Academy said it could not be expected to take "moral positions" when evaluating films.
A number of French feminist groups have urged Cesar voters to snub Polanski's film, titled J'accuse in France and called for a protest outside the award ceremony.