After nearly a decade of being excluded from the Cannes Film Festival's official competition, the German film industry has been given a glimmer of hope by the festival's new artistic director Thierry Fremaux.

Following a visit to Munich, where he met industry figures including FFF Bayern's Klaus Schaefer, Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick, producers Eberhard Junkersdorf, Thomas Woebke and Maria Koepf, and Bavaria Film chief Thilo Kleine, Fremaux announced concrete steps to improve relations between the festival and the German film industry.

"Shortly, the festival will appoint a new Germany correspondent who lives in Germany and has both profound expert knowledge as well as many contacts as possible particularly with producers and directors", Fremaux revealed.

"With his help, I will acquire a thorough overview of the range of the new generation of German directorial talents. In the autumn, I will return to Germany, this time to Berlin to have further film political discussions - and above all, to personally view the first films which can be considered for Cannes".

Cautious of misinterpretation, Fremaux added the caveat: "That naturally can not be a guarantee for a German entry in the official programme, but it is a clear sign for the increased attention that the festival wants to show for Germany"

Just prior to this year's Cannes festival, Fremaux publicly criticised German films for "lacking style". In an interview in the Der Spiegel weekly magazine he bemoaned the fact that he had failed to find "a real revelation" among the German films viewed for the official competition (Screen Daily, May 7 2001).