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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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Rendez-Vous with French Screens Uptown and Downtown NY

The French are coming, the French are coming….again. The annual RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA, a leading showcase for new French films, returns to New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center for an eleventh year. The program of fifteen new features will screen at the Society’s Walter Reade Theater in uptown New York, and, for the first time, have parallel screenings at the IFC Center Theater in Greenwich Village. Festival dates are March 10 to 19.

The series is co-presented by Unifrance USA, the American arm of the French film promotion body. This year’s edition represents a final adieu for longtime Unifrance USA leader Catherine Verret, who is returning to France. Her recently announced successor, John Kochman, whose resume includes stints at Canal Plus International and MK2, assumes the post in New York in April.

The Festival opens at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on March 10th with PALAIS ROYAL, a charming comedy directed by writer/director/actress Valérie Lemercier. Lemercier and actor Lambert Wilson will be present at the gala screening.

Returning directors to the Showcase include Stéphane Brizé (NOT HERE TO BE LOVED), Laurent Cantet (HEADING SOUTH), Cédric Klapisch (RUSSIAN DOLLS), Brigitte Roüan (HOUSEWARMING) and Danièle Thompson (ORCHESTRA SEATS).

Helmers making their feature film debuts include Antony Cordier (COLD SHOWERS), Isabelle Mergault (YOU ARE SO HANDSOME) and acclaimed novelist Emmanuel Carrère (LA MOUSTACHE), an adaptation of his popular novel.

Another highlight of the program is the premiere of HELL (L’ENFER), the newest film from director Danis Tanovic, who won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for his brilliant debut NO MAN’S LAND. The film brings together some of France’s most celebrated actors, Emmanuelle Béart, Carole Bouquet, Marie Gillain, and Karin Viard. The film is based on an original idea by famed auteur director Krzystztof Kieslowski.

The program not only represents an opportunity for New York audiences to see some of the best new French films produced in the past year, but gives the films a showcase for New York’s celebrated contingent of arthouse distributors including Sony Pictures Classics, Picturehouse, Miramax, IFC Films, The Weinstein Company, Palm Pictures, Magnolia Films, Zeitgeist Films, New Yorker Films, Kino International and others. A delegation of film industry professionals including producers, sales agents and other industry executives will be in attendance.

With a French documentary MARCH OF THE PENGUINS poised to win an Oscar next week, French cinema had close to $200 million in ticket sales in 2005, its best year ever. Other exemplary films that appeared on US screens this year included HIGH TENSION, A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT, LOOK AT ME, THE CHORUS and THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED.

While the Bush administration may have a bumpy relationship with France (remember “freedom fries”?), film audiences continue their long-held passion for le cinema francais.


Sandy Mandelberger
Industry Editor

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Chatelin Bruno
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