'Ch'tis' filmmakers: Excellence in Filmmaking Award

French thesp Dany Boon hit a home run with blockbuster comedy “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” (Welcome to the Sticks), which he co-wrote, helmed and stars in. Released Feb. 8 in France, the pic, drew more than 20 millions ticketbuyers — the biggest B.O. performer since 1976’s “La Grande Vadrouille.”

“We never imagined it would have such a mainstream audience,” Boon says. “When I first spoke to the producers, they were afraid no one would understand the ‘ch’ti’ (the vernacular language of the movie).” But Boon explains the film’s success lies in its singularity. “It’s a fable, but it’s very close to reality and my own background,” says the comedian. “And it stands apart from most French movies these days because it’s not influenced by Hollywood cinema.”

“Sticks” is the second feature film written and directed by Boon, after “La Maison du bonheur.” He is currently writing another comedy that he says will start shooting next year, and is also filming romantic comedy “Le Code a change” with Sophie Marceau.

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