PARIS– UniFrance is upping the ante for the fifth edition of its online festival MyFrenchFilmFestival, showcasing A-list festival players, local commercial and critical successes.
Melanie Laurent’s “Breathe” and “Hippocrate” (pictured above), both heading from Cannes’ Critics Week, Robin Campillo’s “Eastern Boys,” winner of Venice’s Horizons prize, and Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s “The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears ” are among the 10 feature films set to compete at MyFrenchFilmFestival. A second competition selection comprises 10 short films, notably the animated “A Town Called Panic: The Christmas Log,” “Guy Moquet” and “Shadow.”
MyFrenchFilmFestival’s lineup was unveiled today at a press conference organized at the French culture ministry. Organized by UniFrance Jean-Paul Salomé and managing director Isabelle Giordano, the presser was attended by culture minister Fleur Pellerin, CNC president Frederique Bredin and Michel Gondry, who succeeds to Jean-Pierre Jeunet as president of the directors’ jury.
The online fest was launched by UniFrance to promote French films that may not be so easy to sell widely, as well as test the VOD market across the world. While the initiative is still not financially lucrative, it’s gradually gained the support of local sales agents, including Bac, Films Distribution, Le Pacte, Other Angle and Gaumont, who see the fest as an opportunity to reach wider audiences and possibly help foreign auds acquire a taste for French movies.
“Today, VOD has profoundly modified our industry, its release windows and its modes of consumption,” said Salomé. “Over and beyond the figures, film buffs around the world tell us how much they love our films, our directors and our actors, and that their appetite for discovery never fails once we give them the possibility of accessing original works,” added Giordano.
Last year’s edition attracted 4 million online viewings worldwide in just one month on the site MyFrenchFilmFestival.com and was backed by 20 partners.
This edition has enlisted a record 25 partners, including the U.S.’s Amazon, Canada’s Shaw, France’s Dailymotion, Spain’s Filmin, China’s Youku. Pics will also play on iTunes and Google Play, across 90 and 15 countries, respectively.
Movies will be available in 13 languages and free to stream on MyFrenchFilmFestival.com as well as on VOD platforms in Latin America, China, Poland, Russia and Turkey. In other countries, prices will range from 1.99 Euros for a single film rental and 9.99 Euros for a full-access to the entire selection.
Presided by Gondry, the directors’ jury will bring together Joachim Lafosse, Nadav Lapid and Abderrahmane Sissako. The best movie will be awarded the Chopard Prize of Directors.
Fest will hand out two other nods: the international press (whose jury includes Variety’s chief international film critic Peter Debruge) and the Lacoste audience awards.
The online event is set to run Jan. 16-Feb. 16.
Feature films in competition:
“How I Came To Hate Math” (“Comment j’ai detesté les maths”), Olivier Peyon
“Eastern Boys,” Robin Campillo
“The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears” (“L’etrange couleur des larmes de ton corps”), Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani
“Gazelles,” Mona Achache
“Hippocrate,” Thomas Lilti
“Breathe” (“Respire”), Melanie Laurent
“Miss And The Doctors” (“Tirez la langue, mademoiselle”), Axelle Ropert
“Fool Circle” (“Tristesse Club”), Vincent Mariette
“A Place on Earth” (“Une Place Sur Terre”), Fabienne Godet
“Vandal,” Helier Cisterne
Short Films in Competition:
“Aissa,” Clement Trehin-Lalanne
“A Town Called Panic: The Christmas Log,” Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar
“Dip N’ Dance,” Hugo Cierzniak
“Extrasystale,” Alice Douard
“Guy Moquet,” Demis Herenger
“Carefree” (“Les insouciants”), Louise de Premonville
“Molii,” Hakim Zouhani, Yassine Qnia, Carine May and Mourad Boudaoud
“The Return” (“Le retour”), Yohann Kouam
“Shadow,” Lorenzo Recio
“A Day Out in Paris” (“La viree à paname”), Carine May, Hakim Zouhani