Jean-Michel Frodon, director of France's venerable Cahiers Du Cinema since 2003 has spent the last couple of decades travelling the world to track the newest trends in world cinema. He is also the man behind the decision to launch an English edition of the Cahiers, the 50-year-old bastion of film criticism.
"I was lucky enough to be a critic when things started to happen in African cinema in the 1990s. I went to China when the first generation of film-makers emerged in the 1980s. During Glasnost, I was in Russia and I was in Buenos Aires when Pablo Trapero started making films," says Frodon, formerly film editor of French newspaper Le Monde.
"Each time I thought something was happening, I went there. I had to see what happened on the five continents. It was much more interesting than staying in France," he says during a whirlwind visit to New York to launch the Cahiers' English edition.
Since he arrived at the Cahiers, Frodon says he has tried to develop international relations based on the magazine's global renown and its economic necessity to target a broader audience.
The Cahiers began translating two articles each month into Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and English. "But the entire magazine being available now in English on the internet opens a huge market, not just in the English-speaking world but all over," Frodon says of the new edition.
It is not the first time the Cahiers has tried to go international. In the late 1960s, an English edition was briefly published in New York. But political disagreements saw the backers pull out.
So did Frodon face any resistance from protectionists when he came up with the idea to launch the latest English edition'
"Nobody said, 'No, you can't do it,' but everyone thought, 'It will never happen.' And it was hard to make it happen," Frodon admits.
As part of its international drive, the Cahiers is also planning a Spanish edition, although unlike the English edition it will have its own Spanish writing staff and only half the articles will be translated from the original French.
"If someone from China or Germany says they want to do a local edition of the Cahiers, we can't initiate but it would be possible," says Frodon.
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