The Franco-American Cultural Fund has unveiled the roster for the 17th City of Lights, City of Angels film fest that runs April 15-22 in LA. The French film showcase is presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a partnership of the DGA, WGAW, MPAA and France’s SACEM. Danièle Thompson’s comedy It Happened In Saint Tropez will open the festival. Co-written by Thompson and her son and frequent collaborator, Christopher Thompson, the film stars Kad Merad and Monica Bellucci. The two closing night films are being kept under wraps until April 15. Among other highlights are Pathé’s box office hit Jappeloup, a biopic of showjumper Pierre Durand, written by and starring Guillaume Canet; Tribeca selection Cycling With Moliere, starring Lambert Wilson and Fabrice Luchini; Stéphane Brizé’s A Few Hours Of Spring; The Weinstein Co.‘s Mad Men-era Populaire and Philippe Godeau’s 11.6 starring The Intouchables‘ François Cluzet. Among the new additions to the program this year are Focus on a Producer (Anne-Dominique Toussaint and Les Films des Tournelles); the Col-Coa Coming Soon Award which offers a promotional radio campaign to a film with a U.S. distributor; the World Cinema Produced By France series and a series entitled French NeWave 2.0. The films announced today join previously announced vintage titles. Tickets are available online at Colcoa.org and onsite at the DGA. Click over for the full list of titles: READ MORE »
The annual City of Lights, City of Angels film festival runs in L.A. this year from April 15-22. Col-Coa, presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund — a partnership of the DGA, WGAW, MPAA and France’s SACEM – showcases new and vintage French movies and this year has given carte blanche to director Wes Anderson to program a classic title. Anderson has gone with Le Feu Follet (The Fire Within), Louis Malle’s 1963 drama that stars Maurice Ronet and Jeanne Moreau. Moreau also stars in Jacques Demy’s La Baie Des Anges (Bay Of Angels), whose restored version is getting a screening on its 50th anniversary. New on the program is the Focus on a Producer initiative with Anne-Dominique Toussaint the inaugurual guest. Toussaint’s credits include César winner Les Beaux Gosses and 2007 sleeper Caramel. The Focus on a Filmmaker will be dedicated to Alain Resnais with a special presentation of 1974′s Stavisky starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. The 90-year-old filmmaker’s latest work, Vous N’Avez Encore Rien Vu (You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet), which premiered in Cannes last year, will have its U.S. debut at the festival ahead of its May release.
With the high-profile Tribeca Film Festival launching tonight and the San Francisco Film Festival tomorrow, don’t count out Hollywood. No sooner had I taken off my credentials for the TCM Classic Film Festival (headquartered at the Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian theaters) late Sunday night, I had to put on my Col-Coa (City of Lights, City of Angels) fest credentials for opening night Monday at the DGA Theater. The Hollywood-based French film festival showcases lots of new and some vintage French pictures for a solid week of premieres of films that either have or don’t have domestic distribution.
Presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund — a partnership of the DGA, WGAW, MPAA, Composers and Music Publishers and The French Society for Authors — the opening-night film My Way, a biopic of 1960s and 70s Gallic pop star Claude Francois is one of those movies up for grabs. The colorful Cinemascope production from director Florent-Emilio Siri is a winner that would seem ripe for the picking, especially since La Vie En Rose, another showbiz musical biopic Col-Coa once premiered, went on to strong U.S. art house success and won two Oscars including Best Actress for Marion Cotillard. My Way (known in France as Cloclo) features another remarkable tour de force in the vein of Cotillard’s Edith Piaf from actor Jeremie Reinier as the mercurial star best known for writing the title song (Comme d’habitude) that would become the signature tune for Frank Sinatra. Reinier, who participated in the post-premiere Q&A with Siri and moderator Taylor Hackford, said he had never sung or danced but does so remarkably well in the film while also capturing the full maniacal manner and kinectic energy of this singer most Americans probably haven’t heard of before. The film has grossed $14 million in France since opening a month ago, and a smart distributor would plant Reinier in L.A. during awards season (similar to campaigns for Cotilllard and Jean Dujardin) and push the hell out of of this performance. It’s that good.
Col-Coa will conclude Sunday with the North American premiere of the Cesar-winning The Intouchables, which The Weinstein Co will open on May 25th and are already developing an English remake starring Colin Firth. Co-star Omar Sy won the Best Actor Cesar over Dujardin’s The Artist, so there is much anticipation for it here. In the official opening remarks from fest director Francois Truffart on Monday, there was much pride in the fact that a French film took home the Best Picture Oscar this year. He also mentioned that Col-Coa had premiered nine of Oscar winner Dujardin’s previous films. Siri made reference to the Artist’s American triumph as well in his pre-screening remarks. “We shot it in color and Cinemascope, but in order for it to succeed I will show it silent and in black-and-white,” he joked.
This week the big April film festivals are tripping all over each other churning out announcements of film premieres, starry panels, schedules, events and so much more. Directly competing for attention — and against each other – on opposite coasts are, of course, the ever-growing Tribeca Film Festival in New York and the San Francisco International Film Festival which seems to be going strong despite the untimely tragic passings of its last two leaders, Graham Leggat and his successor Bingham Ray. Both fests get underway on April 19th after Tribeca offers up their World Premiere opener, Universal’s comedy, The Five-Year Engagement on April 18. SFIFF will open the next evening with Benoit Jacquot’s Farewell My Queen. This week that fest announced five-time Oscar nominee Kenneth Branagh will receive their prestigious Founders Directing Award on April 27th, while Tribeca announced they will be closing their fest the next day with the World Premiere of sure-to-be summer blockbuster The Avengers from Disney and Marvel. Earlier this week Tribeca announced an intriguing panel with founder Robert DeNiro , Meryl Streep and Judd Apatow discussing Universal’s first 100 years. Tribeca is particularly agressive in trying to move up in the world film festival hierarchy. The whole team was out in L.A. last week for a party touting this year’s fest. Tribeca Fest Director Geoff Gilmore told me they really decided to go for some of the most intriguing titles this year and thinks the effort has paid off in an exciting lineup he thinks will gain strong attention.
It may be hard for Hollywood to compete with these two well-regarded fests but a pair of my favorites are also happening right in the heart of L.A. and right around