Magazine article Variety

Gallic Movie Showcase Targets North America

Magazine article Variety

Gallic Movie Showcase Targets North America

Article excerpt


The Rendez-vous With French Cinema in New York, co-organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and French film export organization Unifrance, is a key annual meet between the French and U.S. film industries.

Now in its 22nd edition, it's one of Unifrance's longest-running French cinema showcases, which screens new films from established and upcoming talent and trends in French cinema, accompanied by the filmmakers and sales agents.

Over half of the 23 films screening this year already have U.S. distribution deals in place and aim to create buzz among film critics and audiences, while the rest are looking for distributors.

"We aim to increase the visibility of French cinema and thereby boost film exports," says Unifrance director-general, Isabelle Giordano. "We're here to support our sales agents."

North America is a key overseas market for French films and contributes around 20% of total exports.

After a slide from 111 million foreign admissions worldwide in 2015 to 34 million admissions in 2016, primarily due to the absence of blockbuster films that can travel well, such as "Taken 3" and "The Little Prince" Unifrance expects significant recovery in 2017, driven in part by new voices emerging in French cinema.

Giordano believes that the actress Oscar nomination for Isabelle Huppert in "Elle" which also won a Golden Globe, will also provide a further boost for French cinema in 2017.

A delegation of around 50 leading French directors, actors, producers and sales agents will attend the event, including established helmers such as François Ozon ("Frantz"), Olivier Assayas ("Personal Shopper"), and Bruno Dumont ("Slack Bay"), plus emerging talent such as Julia Ducournau ("Raw"), Rebecca Zlotowski ("Planetarium"), and Katell Quillévéré ("Heal the Living").

Eleven French sales agents will also attend, including Wild Bunch, Gaumont, Le Pacte, Films Distribution, Pathe, and Bac Films.

Sales agents will mingle with U.S. distributors at a business lunch on March 2, with confirmed guests including the Cohen Media Group, IFC, Kino Lorber, GKids, Grasshopper Films, Mubi, Tribeca Film Festival, Zeitgeist, Music Box, Magnolia, and Bleecker Street.

"All the key American buyers will be at the lunch, with over 40 professionals attending," says Giordano. "It's quite informal, but in the past has paved the way to deals being signed at the end of the Rendez-vous. …

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