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Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in New York Kicks Off With ‘Valley of Love’

PARIS — The Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in New York, a festival jointly organized by UniFrance and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is kicking off today with the North American premiere of Cannes competition entry “Valley of Love,” with helmer Guillaume Nicloux and star Isabelle Huppert in attendance.

“Valley of Love” stars Huppert and Gerard Depardieu as a divorced couple who are forced to reunite at Death Valley in the U.S. following the suicide of their son and embark together on a spiritual journey. The movie won best cinematography at the Cesar awards and earned Huppert and Depardieu Cesar nominations.

The opening night screening will be followed by a French Waves party showcasing top French electro DJs such as Pedro Winter, Boston Bun, Superpoze and Jacques.

The Rendez-Vous is not merely a red carpet event as it will place a large emphasis on French industry players such as directors, producers and composers.

Emmanuelle Bercot (“Standing Tall”), Julie Delpy (“Lolo”), Louis Garrel (“Two Friends”), Eva Husson (“Bang Gang”), Rudi Rosenberg (“The New Kid”), Alice Winocour (“Disorder”), Maïwenn (“Mon Roi”) and Nabil Ayouch (“Much Loved”) are among the directors attending the festival.

Producers set to participate include Didar Domehri (“Bang Gang”), Eric Juhérian and Mathias Rubin (“The New Kid”), Patrick Sobelman (“Three Sisters,” “The Apaches”), David Thion (“Parisienne”) and Anne-Dominique Toussaint (“Two Friends”).

Composers attending include Grégoire Hetzel (“Summertime,” “My Golden Years”), Nicolas Jaar (“Dheepan”) and Mathieu Lamboley (“Lolo”).

As always, the New York confab will be attended by key sales agents repping movies from the selection. These include Indie Sales’ Nicolas Eschbach (“The New Kid,” “Two Friends”), Le Pacte’s Camille Néel, Bac Films’ Gilles Sousa (“A Decent Man,” “The Great Game”), Pyramide’s Agathe Valentin (“Fatima”), Films Distribution’s François Yon (“Dark Inclusion,” “Les Apaches”), SND’s Charlotte Boucon and Versatile’s Pape Boye.

The Rendez-Vous With French Cinema kicks off less than a week after the foreign-language Oscar win of “Son of Saul,” Lazslo Nemes’ Holocaust drama that Films Distribution has sold worldwide. Although France didn’t win the statuette with its official candidate “Mustang,” Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, it’s celebrating the victory of “Son of Saul” as Films Distribution played a crucial role in positioning the film in the international spotlight.

“We often evoke the know-how of French sales agents — to the point of speaking of a “hub,” as we heard during the last Berlin Film Festival, where French sales agents once again stood out from the pack,” said Giordano. “Once again at the Oscars, it’s with great pride that we watched the path accomplished by “Mustang” (whose Oscar nomination was a reward in itself) but also the journey of a company like Films Distribution.”

“The Oscar for ‘Son of Saul’ illustrates the work of French sales companies such as Films Distribution that are dedicated to preserving and giving a global exposure to arthouse films which are singular but can also appeal to international audiences,” said Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, co-founder of Films Distribution.

Rolling off the Rendez-Vous in New York, UniFrance will travel with sales agents to host the inaugural confab Mercado del Cinema Francés in Miami, an entry point to the booming Latin American market, as part of the Miami International Film Festival.

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