It takes many years of passion and hard work for a festival to truly develop into a recognised cultural event.

It is for this reason that I am particularly happy to welcome the "5eme Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes", and president, Bernard Bories who has gathered around him some of the great names of the 7th Art and for this new edition, has prepared a selection of beautiful and previously unseen cinematographic surprises.

Opening this year's festival will be Japanese Story, starring Toni Collette, which was included in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival. The festival will close with Jane Campion's powerful work In The Cut. The film's release is eagerly awaited throughout the world and St. Tropez has the honour of hosting the premiere.

Once again, young audiences have a special place in the festival, with several classic films and premiers organised for school children.

With over forty short and feature films, we will have the pleasure of discovering in the course of the festival, a variety of films ranging from the mainstream, such as Evelyn starring Pierce Brosnan, to newly discovered films most notably For Good by Stuart McKenzie, a work supported by Jane Campion.

At last year's festival, the Audience Award attracted considerable attention and will again this year discern the Best Feature film.

Among the many supporters of the festival, it is my privilege to welcome the Australian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr William Fisher, the New Zealand Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Adrian Macey, together with Mr Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of France and President of the Terra Australis Association.

Over the seven days of the festival, I should very much like for our town of St. Tropez and its people to be immersed in the 7th Art of the Antipodes which this year, provides us with one of its most sticking editions.

Jean-Michel COUVE
Member of Parliament - National Assembly of France
Mayor of Saint-Tropez.