City of Lights, City of Angels, L.A.’s annual French film showcase, has always been about maintaining a bridge between Hollywood and Paris. As such, the weeklong event has doubled as one continuous networking opportunity for a certain segment of the biz, and for the 17th edition, it’s even more so.
“Up until now we mostly focused on distributors and we realized that there was a gap we needed to fill as more American producers are looking for new talent, co-production opportunities, or are just eager to learn more about how business in done in France,” says Francois Truffart, the fest’s exec producer and artistic director. “Colcoa has become a good place to scout for remakes, we hope it can also give birth to co-productions going forward.”
This year’s featured producer is Les Films des Tournelles founder Anne-Dominique Toussaint, who boasts two entries at this year’s Colcoa: Rachid Djaidani’s Rengaine and Philippe Le Guay’s Cycling With Moliere; also set to compete at the Lincoln Center’s New Director/New Film fest and Tribeca, respectively.
Per Toussaint: “The success of The Artist and Intouchables, among other recent French films, has strengthen tiesbetween U.S. and French film industries and opened doors for collaborations.”
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A number of French producers, notably Alain Attal (Blood Ties) and Eric Altmayer (In the House), have projects set up in North America. And as many as 40% of the films presented at this year’s Colcoa have a U.S. distributor. Among them: the comedies Populaire and Haute Cuisine (Weinstein Co.); Alain Resnais’ You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (Kino Lorber);
Francois Ozon’s In the House and Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack (Cohen Media Group); Alexandre de la Patelliere and Matthieu Delaporte’s What’s in a Name? (Under the Milky Way); and Eli Wajeman’s Alyah and Catherine Corsini’s Three Worlds (Film Movement).
In this regard, Truffart says Colcoa’s No. 1 goal remains to create a promotional launchpad for French films, which is why the Press Sessions and Coming Soon award will bow this year, the latter of which is determined by Colcoa auds and offer the U.S. distributor a promotional campaign via public radio station KPCC.
“Building events around film releases and creating awareness is more crucial than ever considering the skyrocketing
P&A that U.S. distributors have to put up to roll films out,” says Truffart.
As opposed to Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema, Colcoa has never been about high art, but its populist bent hasn’t canceled out the intellectual rigor of such filmmakers as Laurent Cantet (Heading South, The Class) or the daring of Olivier Assayas (Demonlover).
“Colcoa has a role to play in North America: It showcases the kind of commercial and well-polished French films that U.S. buyers seldom see playing at festivals,” says Lionel Uzan, head of sales and acquisitions at SND.
“The big plus of Colcoa,” he adds, “is that screenings are filled and are attended by all the key buyers and important American execs.”