Avenue to indie promotion

Fest Traveler: Champs-Elysees Film Festival 2012

After a spot of cruising on the Croisette, how about a charming stroll down the Champs-Elysees? Nothing could be more agreeable now that “the most beautiful avenue in the world” has its very own film festival.

Launched by Sophie Dulac, a Paris-based producer and distributor, the inaugural Champs-Elysees Film Festival runs June 6-12.

In an already crowded calendar, the fest’s focus is on promoting independent American cinema and encouraging the distribution of pics by emerging U.S. filmmakers in France and Europe.

Unlike domestic and some European pics, there is no CNC aid for French shingles distributing American pics.

Dulac, who does not see this changing any time soon, is using the fest to launch U.S. in Progress, which will introduce Stateside indies in post-production to prospective Euro buyers.

The program is a joint initiative of the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, the Champs-Elysees fest and Black Rabbit Film, which has bases in Paris and New York.

Four films will be screened: Jocelyn Towne’s unconventional love story “I Am I”; Travis Gutierrez Senger’s “Desert Cathedral,” about a private investigator; Michael Barlett’s horror pic “House of Last Things”; and Hannah Fidell’s “The Teacher.”

“We think it’s important to get these films out there so that European distributors can get a chance to see them,” says Dulac. “Afterwards they’ll be able to make up their own minds.”

The maiden fest pays tribute to Donald Sutherland and Harvey Weinstein, both of whom will be in attendance.

There will be a special screening of Alan J. Pakula’s “Klute,” which starred Sutherland and Jane Fonda, and a retro of some of the most famous pics Weinstein backed.A gala dinner will be given in Weinstein’s honor June 6 and the next day he will host a roundtable about ways to develop French/U.S. co-productions at a time when there is no formal agreement in place.

Dulac hopes the festival will provide “a bridge between independent French and U.S. cinema” and underlines Weinstein’s role in making “The Artist’s” Jean Dujardin a name in America.

Two presidents of honor have been named: thesps Michael Madsen for the U.S. and Lambert Wilson for France.

But unlike the similarly U.S.-friendly Deauville fest, there will be not be a celebrity jury. Instead the fest’s two competitions — one for American independent features, the other for French shorts — will be judged by the paying public.

The 10-strong Official Selection of American Independent Films includes Richard Linklater’s “Bernie,” Richard Lee’s “Jesus Henry Christ” and Bruce Beresford’s “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding.” It also includes docus by Errol Morris (“Tabloid”) and Matthew Akers (“Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”).

Every night the fest will host screenings of new French films in seven cinemas located either on the Champs-Elysees or just off it. Pics include Alain Resnais’ Cannes competition entry “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” Bruno Polyades’ “Adieu Berthe,” Quentin Dupieux’s “Wrong” and husband-and-wife team Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon’s docu “Journal de France.”

There will also be screenings of all last year’s Oscar nominees for foreign-language film, as well as French premieres of Wes Craven’s 3D “My Soul to Take”; Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo’s “After.Life,” starring Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci; and Gabe Torres’ “Brake,” starring Stephen Dorff.

After two years of carefully planning this inaugural edition, which has the patronage of the French culture ministry, Dulac, who started as an expert in the study of hand-writing, is looking ahead.

“There’s no way we want this to be just a one-off,” she says. “We are looking five or six years down the line. We want to build things up and make this a key event.”


June 6. Tribute to Harvey Weinstein, Miramax co-founder and Weinstein Co. chair. A selection of films backed by Weinstein will be shown during the fest, including Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” John Madden’s “Shakespeare in Love,” Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting,” James Gray’s “The Yards,” “Chicago” (Rob Marshall) and “The English Patient” (Anthony Minghella).

June 9. Special Evening Donald Sutherland. Fest pays tribute to the veteran of more than 150 film and TV roles, who will host a screening of 1971’s “Klute,” followed by a conversation with the actor. Frederic Mitterrand will bestow the medal of Commander of Arts and Letters on Sutherland.

June 10. French premiere of the animated 3D pic “Dr. Suess’ The Lorax,” directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda.

June 11. French premiere of “Snow White and the Huntsman,” directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Upside TIFF

    'The Upside' Poised for China Theatrical Release

    “The Upside,” a 2017 American remake of the 2011 hit French drama “The Intouchables,” will get a China release on Nov. 22. The film was directed by Neil Burger and stars Nicole Kidman, Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship that forms between a rich quadriplegic and the struggling [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Virginia Leith, Female Lead in Stanley Kubrick's First Film, Dies at 94

    Actress and model Virginia Leith, who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s first film “Fear and Desire,” which he later disavowed, has died. She was 94. According to family spokesperson Jane Chalmers, Leith died after a brief illness at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. on Nov. 4. Born on Oct. 15, 1925, Leith met Kubrick in [...]

  • Sarah Bolger's 'A Good Woman Is

    Film News Roundup: Sarah Bolger's 'A Good Woman Is Hard to Find' Bought by Film Movement

    In today’s film news roundup, “A Good Woman Is Hard to Find” and “After Parkland” find homes, Jack Johnson is honored, AGC closes deals on Neill Blomkamp’s latest and Paramount is in talks for a “Power to the People” project. ACQUISITIONS Film Movement has bought North American rights to the thriller “A Good Woman Is [...]

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Chris Butler Looks At The Magic Behind Animating 'Missing Link'

    Laika’s latest feature “Missing Link” raises the bar once again for the world of stop-motion, pushing boundaries in scope and visuals. The story of an unlikely friendship between Mr. Frost and his 8-foot yeti buddy Link is one of hope. “Missing Link” producer Arianne Sutner says the message of the film was to “leave people [...]

  • Jonah Hauer-King Prince Eric

    'Little Mermaid' Live-Action Movie Finds Its Prince Eric

    Jonah Hauer-King will soon be a part of the “Little Mermaid” world. The newcomer has been tapped to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action remake of the animated classic. At one point, Harry Styles was is in early talks for the role, but ended up passing. Hauer-King has had two screen tests, with the most [...]

  • Peter Caranicas

    Variety's Peter Caranicas to Receive 1st HPA Legacy Award

    Peter Caranicas Variety managing editor, features, will be honored with the first HPA Legacy Award. Caranicas joined Variety as features managing editor in 2008, and currently serves as both deputy editor and managing editor, features. He has developed the editorial franchises Dealmakers Impact Report, Hollywood’s New Leaders, Legal Impact Report and Business Managers Elite. Caranicas also [...]

  • Jack Ryan

    Richard Rutkowski on ‘Jack Ryan,’ Costa-Gavras and Being Nice Abroad

    TORUN, Poland – Speaking at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival on Monday, Richard Rutkowski praised the work of Costa-Gavras, offered sage advice for filmmakers working internationally, and offered a glimpse of the fast-paced work faced by cinematographers on high-profile TV series. Rutkowski, whose credits include “Jack Ryan,” “Castle Rock” and “The Americans,” discussed the methods, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content