Magazine article Screen International

The Help's International Premiere Kicks off Deauville's 37th Edition

Magazine article Screen International

The Help's International Premiere Kicks off Deauville's 37th Edition

Article excerpt

Guests walking Deauville's famed Les Planches broadwalk this weekend included Francis Ford Coppola, Shirley Maclaine, Bill Murray, Michael Shannon, Ellen Barkin and Kate Bosworth.

The 37th edition of the Deauville American Film Festival kicked off in style over the weekend with international premiere of US box office hit The Help accompanied by director Tate Taylor, writer Kathryn Stockett and cast members Viola Davis and Emma Stone.

"I couldn't even get the thing published in book form. I didn't think it was ever going to become a film. I had 60 rejections from agents over the course of three years," writer Stockett revealed at the news conference on Saturday.

The Civil Rights Era drama, based on Mississippi-born Stockett's eponymous novel, dominated the US box office this weekend, grossing some $119m.

"Tate Taylor here got his hands on the manuscript and was already adapting it page by page. I kept having to reminding him I couldn't even find a publisher let alone a studio. He asked me for the film rights. He hadn't had a whole lot of success and he was my best friend and of course I said 'no'," she added with deadpan Southern humour.

Deauville's The Help coup unfolded against the perennial debate in the French media regarding the festival's international relevance, sandwiched as it is between Venice and Toronto.

"Deauville is nothing like it was in the 1980s when stars would disembark on the Normandy coast one after the other, to launch their blockbusters. At the time, we gorged ourselves on stars on a daily basis... Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and Robert de Niro would bump into one another," commented weekly news magazine L'Express.

But festival director Bruno Barde dismissed such debates.

"The problem is that people in France as elsewhere think American cinema is only about blockbusters and stars. My role is to present a panorama of American cinema in its entirety and a snapshot of what's going on in American production right now as well as tributes to its legends such as Blake Edwards , Shirley Maclaine and Francis Ford Coppola," Barde told Screen.

"There's no other festival quite like Deauville in the world. Over the coming days we're going to show some 90 American films and welcome 100 related actors and directors," he added. …

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