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US-French Film Festival embraces diversity and cultural exchange in first year after rebrand

The American French Film Festival (TAFFF) is using film to bridge the gap between French and American cultures.

by French American Cultural Foundation (FACF), The annual festival in

returns for the second time this year after a pandemic hiatus . This year, the festival strives to highlight not only the similarities between the two cultures, but also the differences, to shed light on how each culture can better understand the other.

“When you organize a conversation in a bicultural environment, it’s always full of surprises, that’s the point of the conversation,” Anouchka van Riel, deputy director of the festival, told The Hollywood Reporter . “For me, it’s not so much about commonalities as about differences. Metaphors, codes, stereotypes vary from one culture to another. When you work with two countries that are both Western, you feel them It’s actually very similar, which is a very strange feeling. And then you actually find there are huge cultural differences. That’s where our core cross-cultural communication comes in. This festival is really a bridge.”

Formerly known as City of Lights, City of Angels (COLCOA), the festival was renamed TAFFF this year – a move that brings cinema to the heart of the name. The approach behind the name change was also to find a moniker that was not only clearer to filmmakers and the public, but also more aligned with FACF’s brand and mission.

“This is a brand new name that clearly illustrates what this festival has to offer a new generation of audiences who embrace international film, TV and streaming content like never before,” Said Stan McCoy, FACF board member and Motion Picture Association EMEA president and managing director. “Getting young people interested and passionate about this remarkable industry is one of my favorite aspects of the work and mission of the French-American Cultural Foundation, and the name change fits that mission perfectly.”

The week-long festival kicks off in October at the Directors Guild of America. , and Jean-Jacques Arnault at the North American premiere of Notre Dame on Fire

, to reproduce the historical events of April , 1000, when Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire. This year, Arnold will serve as TAFFF’s Honorary Chairman. The festival will have 15 movies and series, and 15 shorts including Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret’s

The Worst Ones , Alexandru Belc’s Metronom, Kevin Ossona and Fabrice Garçon’s

Blazing Neon

and Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s entertainment .

The films will compete for the American French Film Festival Awards, where audiences will vote in three categories: Film, Television and Short. Additionally, a student jury of high school and college students will vote for the American Student Awards, while a professional jury will vote for the best short film.

Notre Dame on fire Provided by the American French Film Festival

“Despite two years of pandemic period, but these selections of French films and series for the French Film Festival in the United States underscore the amazing vitality of the French production community,” said festival executive producer and programmer François Truffaut. “this26 The festival is known for its diversity of genres, the emergence of new talent, and especially the creativity of new female filmmakers.”

He added, “It is very important that we To be able to give [new filmmakers] their first chance. For newcomers, in DGA, in Hollywood, watching their films is like a dream.”

In arranging for the festival When it comes to the show, Truffaut seeks to give filmmakers — veterans and newcomers alike — the opportunity to network within the industry. Cécile Rap-Veber, president of the French-American Cultural Foundation, emphasized the “commercial dimension” of the festival, which allows for communication between professionals, whether in panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions or dedicated sessions.

“Creators [have the opportunity] to sit down with their filmmakers,” added former DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth of the festival’s industry impact. “There are events that bring filmmakers together [and] an evening where filmmakers get together. Studio tours, to educate people about possible releases. That’s the other side of the festival. It’s not a movie market, but it does Trying to be a place that’s not just a place for people to watch movies. It’s a place that can be a springboard for these movies to get out of theaters and into North America.” Ross is also a FACF board member.

François Truffaut Christopher Ortega

Cecile Rapp-Webb, Anuchka Van Riel and Stan McCoy Jean-Baptiste Millot; provided by TAFFF (2)

Dominik Moll’s mystery thriller will be screened on the closing day in October nightth, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. SeriesIrma Vep starring Alicia Vikander, from A09 and HBO will also be on the last day of the festival North American theatrical premiere.

“Many of these films represent various issues that will prevail,” said Andrea Belloff, a representative of the Writers Guild of America and a board member of the Franco-American Cultural Foundation. Berloff) said. “I think the goal of the Franco-American Cultural Foundation is to try to bridge the gap and let people get to know each other better. I think a lot of these films help with that.”

“When we In 1000, no one could have imagined that the American French Film Festival would become the largest French film festival in the world ,” Rap-Veber added. “Today, it is a recognized and respected event, a symbol of sharing, discovery and cultural exchange. For the French-American Cultural Foundation, it is a unique way to connect France and the United States, revolving around shared passion for film, television, and creators.”

While Hollywood studios used to see subtitles as a barrier to the viewing experience, that’s changing. In recent years, foreign language films have emerged, such as Oscar-winning Parasite and TV shows such as World Phenomenon Squid Game opens the door for more international projects to communicate with a wider audience.

“There was a kind of dark period when studios and TV networks thought people didn’t want to see subtitles, so foreign films were seen as economically uninteresting, and as a result, culturally or aesthetically uninteresting, said Howard Rodman, screenwriter, FACF board member and former WGA president. “Thanks to streaming services, there’s far less xenophobia now for world movies, and far less xenophobia for people who speak foreign languages.”

And it’s not just the industry a feeling of people. Van Riel, who works primarily with TAFFF’s education and youth programs, claims that more than 26 A percentage of high school students surveyed by the FACF don’t care if a movie has subtitles — they just want to watch it.

“Almost 10 Years ago, 75 percent of students said, ‘We don’t care about subtitles. Just show us a movie like this, and we want to see it,'” Van Riel said. “The problem is that the pipeline in the U.S. is very limited, and it’s hard to release a French film. A place like the French Film Festival in the U.S. can make this happen on a much bigger platform, for young people to discover this.”

From left: Howard Rodman, WGW; Andrea Belloff, WGAW; Jay D. Ross, DGA; Charles Rifkin , MPA; Michael Mann, DGA; Taylor Hackford, DGA, 1296 Thomas Battle 2022 2022

In this cross-cultural film exchange, the French-American Cultural Foundation also hopes to expand the mainstream audience’s typical view of French society. To do this, TAFFF is focused on bringing more diverse story and filmmakers into the program.

“When Hollywood [paints] France, we think of every shopping bag with a baguette sticking out,” Rodman said. “In every romantic setting, there’s the Eiffel Tower, right? That’s France. But France is as complicated as America. In the end, American audiences get to see that. I think it’s a conversation that’s been going on for over a century. Another part of the. I love that the American French Film Festival is able to continue to dive into 16 century. It made us understand that this is not a one-off, but a cultural exchange and dialogue that will continue.”

“French society is not a monolith, French cinema is no longer a monolith,” adds Van Riel. “There are new voices coming from places that haven’t been filmed in a long time. The American French Film Festival is compiling voices of diversity, voices from French projects — if you’re an American tourist — that you don’t necessarily see. These are all It’s stories of influence, these are people of influence. It’s very important for our festival to show the different voices of French society. Because movies obviously make the city of Los Angeles, but at the end of the day, movies are made by real people Made from a true story.”

The American French Film Festival opens in October. at the Directors Guild of America Theatre Building in West Hollywood.



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