Fest’s managing director Bruno Barde, who says he wants to establish a professional platform for TV screenwriting, cited the massive popularity of U.S. skeins in France and the substandard quality of their domestic equivalent as reasons for the sidebar.
Barde has scheduled a series of master classes and meetings between U.S. and French TV writers for the opening weekend of the fest, which runs Sept. 3-12. There will also be screenings of episodes and pilots that have not yet been seen in France.
U.S. screenwriters to be in attendance include David Chase (“The Sopranos”), Clyde Phillips (“Dexter”), Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman (“Damages”) and Richard Levine (“Nip/Tuck”), whose first film as writer-director, “Every Day,” is premiering out of competition.
The main competition will begin on Sunday as opposed to Monday and last a day longer. This way, Barde says, he will be able not only to increase the number of berths — this year there are 12 films competing as opposed to 10 in previous years — but also to have the jury on site straight away.
This year’s jury president, Emmanuelle Beart, has already put her stamp on the festival by devising the theme for this year’s Nuits Americaines program, which will be screening classic films with a strong femme presence, including John Ford’s “7 Women” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.”
Barde is particularly satisfied with the number of first films playing in and out of competition this year. Eight of the 12 films in competition, most of which bowed at Sundance, are by first-timers.
Out-of-competition highlights for Barde include Floria Sigismondi’s Joan Jett biopic “The Runaways,” Keith Bearden’s “Meet Monica Velour,” Levine’s “Every Day” and graffiti artist Banksy’s tongue-in-cheek “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which is part of a seven-pic Uncle Sam’s Docs lineup.
After years of trying fruitlessly, Barde finally managed to persuade Annette Bening to be a Deauville honoree. Her latest pic, “The Kids Are All Right,” will unspool at the fest.
Directors Terry Gilliam and Gregg Araki are also being honored this year. Araki’s latest film, “Kaboom,” will bow out of competition.
Additional star wattage will be provided by Kim Cattrall, who stars in “Meet Monica Velour,” and Zac Efron, who headlines another out-of-competition premiere, “Charlie St. Cloud.”
However, Barde expects one of the biggest draws to be Joyce Carole Oates, who will be on hand to receive the fest’s Lucien Barriere book prize for her 2001 novel “Blonde.” It was recently re-edited and is massively popular in France.
The Prix Michel D’Ornano for the year’s best first French film goes to “Angele et Tony,” written and directed by Alix Delaporte.