Professional footballer-turned-actor named jury president of this year’s Dinard British Film Festival.

Eric Cantona, former professional footballer and actor, has been confirmed as the jury president of this year’s Dinard British Film Festival (Oct 2-6) held in Brittany, France.

After winning a role in Le Bonheur est dans le pré, directed by Étienne Chatiliez, he retired from football in 1997 to pursue a career in film.

In 1998, he appeared in Shekhar Kapur’s Oscar-winning Elizabeth.  His other credits include The Over-Eater (L’Outremangeur) by director Thierry Binisti and he also starred opposite Isabelle Adjani in De Force from director Frank Henry.  Cantona then crossed over into English language films with his role in Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or nominated Looking for Eric in 2009.

He will next appear in French drama You and the Night (Les Rencontres d’après minuit), directed by Yann Gonzalez.

The festival, which celebrates its 24th anniversary this year, focusses on new British feature films selected by the festival’s president, Sylvie Mallet, and festival director Hussam Hindi.  

The Jury consists of eight members of the film industry from both sides of the channel (four British and four French) who come together with the French jury president during the five-day festival to view and judge six new British films in competition.  The Hitchcock d’Or is subsequently awarded to the best of the six. 

The weekend also includes a programme of avant-premières, special screenings, tributes and retrospectives - last year dedicated to the work of Tom Courtenay. Previous recipients include Peter Mullan and John Hurt.

From the UK, a number of key producers, industry figures, as well as the producers, directors and actors attached to the films in competition attend the festival.  The French film industry is also well represented with producers, directors and most of the main French distributors.