Monday, March 18, 2002
Richmond, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth
University’s French Film Festival will present its 100th film at
this year’s annual film festival, March 22 - 24 at the Byrd Theatre in
Carytown. The Tenth Anniversary French Film Festival will also include 11 new
feature films as well as 12 short films, or court-métrages, by France’s
up-and-coming young directors. The film festival has grown to be the largest and
most successful French Film Festival in the United States. Based on last year’s
attendance, the festival directors are expecting close to 1,400 spectators at
The 11 films being shown, all with English
subtitles, have recently been released in France and are North American premiere
screenings. All the directors will be at the Byrd Theatre to introduce their
films and answer questions from the audience after each film. Discussions will
be in English, or in French with an interpreter. It is with honor that the
festival welcomes directors Alexandre Arcady, Rachid Bouchareb, Yves Lavandier,
Bruno Chiche, Christian Merret-Palmair, and Jean-Max Causse. Additionally the
festival welcomes French producer Annie Miller and famed female cinematographer
Dominique Le Rigoleur to present her dramatic documentary on the ballet of the
This year’s films include films that address
the family relationships and interpersonal conflicts in present-day France; a
story of a man returning after 30 years to his home-country of Algeria; true
stories of the French resistance and French filmmaking in occupied France during
World War II; the racism between Africans and African-Americans in the United
States; and the sexual needs of a person with muscular dystrophy; and of course
One of the goals of the VCU French Film
Festival is to expand the study of French language and culture, while
strengthening French cinema’s presence in the United States by introducing
notable new French films and signaling to American distributors that American
audiences desire to see more French films.
The festival weekend in Richmond has also come
to be recognized across the Mid-Atlantic states as a unique and valuable
immersion weekend for French language students. University and high school
student groups come from as far away as Philadelphia, Washington DC, and
Virginia Beach; while individuals from Texas, Ohio, and New York have already
purchased their festival passes.
This year’s 5 Oscar nominations for the
enchanting film Amélie (Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language
Film, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Sound) demonstrate the
growing impact of the French film industry in the US. In 2001 in the US, a
record number of 7 French films reached the $1 million mark, emphasizing the
increasing popularity of French cinema.
Dr. Peter Kirkpatrick, founder and director of
the VCU French Film Festival, is excited about the tenth year and its program.
"The French Film industry has had a great year in the US. This success is
not surprising. For nine years, we have had record attendance. For those who
have just discovered French film due to blockbusters like Amélie and The
Brotherhood of the Wolf, they are in for quite an experience meeting and
talking with the 27 actors and directors in our French delegation."
During the festival, on the evening of Saturday
March 23rd, an official reception with the Directors and actors will be held at
the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A gala dinner for VIP Pass Plus holders will
follow the reception. To attend all film screenings and the discussions with the
directors/actors at the Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary Street as well as the
official reception at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, participants can
purchase a VIP Friends of the Festival pass for $40; $25 for students. A VIP
Friends of the Festival Plus Pass, available for $85, also provides admission to
the gala dinner to be held at the Downtown Club of Richmond. Tickets for
individual screenings are $5 at the door. Visit the festival web site at http://www.frenchfilm.vcu.edu.
For more information about the films or show times, call the VCU French Film
Festival Hotline at (804) 278-0210. For ticket information, call (804) 827-FILM.
The French Film Festival is sponsored by VCU's
Division of University Outreach, the College of Humanities and Sciences, the
Department of Foreign Languages, SACD (French Screenwriting Guild), L’ARP
(French Director’s and Producer’s Guild), Unifrance, and the Cultural
Services of the French Embassy in Washington D.C. The media sponsor of the
festival is your Community Idea Stations, WCVE Richmond PBS and WHTJ
Charlottesville PBS and 88.9 WCVE Richmond NPR. The local sponsors of the
festival include Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market, and the law firm of
McCandlish Holton, PC, University of Richmond and VCU Health System.
About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.