One of the rare festivals to be hosting physical edition in the coronavirus era, the Deauville American Film Festival is set to world premiere 10 anticipated movies that are part of Cannes’s 2020 Official Selection.
The Deauville roster of Cannes pics was curated by the Normandy-set festival’s artistic director Bruno Barde out of the 56 films selected by Cannes’ director Thierry Fremaux.
These include many prestige French films, notably Maïwenn’s “ADN,” Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s “A Good Man,” Lucas Belvaux’s “Home Front,” Bruno Podalydès’ “French Tech,” Charlène Favier’s “Slalom,” alongside Farid Bentoumi’s “Rouge,” Ludovic & Zoran Boukherma’s “Teddy” and Farid Bentoumi’s “Red Soil.”
Other non-U.S. pics from Cannes set for Deauville include Francis Lee’s British film “Ammonite” and Yeon Sang-ho’s South Korean movie “Peninsula.” The only American movie of the pack, Jonathan Nossiter’s “Last Words,” will play in competition.
“A town, beaches, views? No, it’s not Cannes, it’s Deauville. The host of one of France’s oldest film festivals will exceptionally take on the guise of la Croisette in this most unique year for cinema,” said Fremaux.
“Along with Pierre Lescure and the team from Cannes, we are immensely pleased by the hospitality extended to us to screen films from the Official Selection on the Deauville boardwalk,” Fremaux, who will introduce the films from the selection as he does at Cannes. “We share with Bruno Barde an identical rigor for cinema, the same passion for artists, a similar tradition of generosity and openness to the world,” added Fremaux.
Barde said he contacted Fremaux immediately when hearing that Cannes could be threatened by the health crisis. “I told Thierry (Fremaux) to say that Deauville would be honored to welcome Cannes and showcase a selection of films, and once the decision was made to not hold the physical edition, I renewed my invitation officially,” said Barde, adding that he considers Cannes as the “backbone of cinema” and holds Fremaux in “high esteem.”
Through this alliance, Deauville will broaden its scope and be “more international than ever,” said Barde. The festival is usually dedicated to American movies.
“The idea is to welcome Cannes in its nature, which is profoundly international. As such I made an international selection of 10 films that will pepper all of Deauville’s sections, from the competition to the world premieres,” said Barde.
“A festival is meant to be a celebration of cinema; we’re no longer at a time where the “every man for himself” motto can work, we have to welcome each others’ films to make sure that these movies get exposure,” said Barde.
Cannes has been able to forge alliances with most other fall festivals such as San Sebastian — with the exception of the Venice Film Festival which won’t be showing any films from Cannes’ Official Selection.
For French distributors of Cannes-labeled films who have not yet had the opportunity to unveil their movies, Deauville will serve as a launchpad to build some buzz and garner press coverage, notably reviews. On top of boasting a glamorous seaside red carpet and a state-of-the-art venue (Palais des Congrès), Deauville also has the advantage of being a festival which is open to general audiences, hence a good place to launch a film.
“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures, and we’re happy to be unveiling Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s film ‘A Good Man’ at Deauville with a real audience,” said the film’s distributor Eric Lagesse at Pyramide. “We’re eager to have people discover the film all together on a big screen and see how they will react,” said Lagesse.
Mention-Schaar, along with many other filmmakers and cast from this Cannes selection will be on hand in Deauville to engage with the public during Q&A’s after screenings.
Deauville will also join forces with the Annecy Film Festival, which went virtual this year, to show three movies from its competition, notably Remi Chayé’s “Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” which won the Crystal award, as well as “Joann Sfar’s “Little Vampire,” and Takashi Yamazaki’s “Lupin 3 : The First.”
Aside from those Cannes-labeled films, Deauville will showcase some 70 American films, including 14 films in competition — on par with last year.
“Although most American filmmakers won’t be able to attend the festival due to travel restrictions, the quality of this year’s competition lineup has a very high level and the spotlight will naturally be placed on these movies,” said Barde.
The competition lineup comprises films from critically acclaimed helmers such as Kelly Reichardt with “First Cow,” Nossiter with “Last Words,” Eleanor Coppola’s “Love is Love is Love,” Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire,” and Lee Isaac Chung with “Minari,” and seven films from emerging directors, notably Darius Marder with “Sound of Metal” and Nicole Riegel with “Holler.” “Feature debuts are often compelling because they are passion projects for filmmakers,” said Barde.
Barde said he saw some 200 films, compared with roughly 300 films in previous years. “American cinema is not is a good shape economically, and they are less and less shown in theaters, but artistically-speaking they are strong,” said Barde, who also noted there were more and more female directors represented in competition at Deauville. This year’s program includes 11 films directed by women, eight of which are in competition, two more than in 2019.
Deauville will this year pay homage to late Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas who had visited the Deauville Festival twice, in 1978 and 1999. French singer-turned-actor Vaness Paradis will preside the jury of this 46th edition.
Here is the competition lineup:
“First Cow,” Kelly Reichardt
“Giants Being Lonely,” Grear Patterson
“Holler,” Nicole Riegel
“Kajillionaire,” Miranda July
“Lorelei,” Sabrina Doyle
“Last Words,” Jonathan Nossiter
“Love is Love is Love,” Eleanor Coppola
“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung
“Shiva Baby,” Emma Seligman
“Sophie Jones,” Jessie Barr
“Sound of Metal,” Darius Marder
“The Assistant,” Kitty Green
“The Violent Heart,” Kerem Sanga
“Uncle Franck,” Alan Ball
Cannes at Deauville selection:
“Ammonite,” Francis Lee
“Home Front,” Lucas Belvaux
“French Tech,” Bruno Podalydès
“A Good Man,” Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar
“Last Words,” Jonathan Nossiter
“Peninsula,” Yeon Sang-ho
“Red Soil,” Farid Bentoumi
“Slalom,” Charlène Favier
“Teddy,” Ludovic & Zoran Boukherma