Guillaume Nicloux’s “To the Ends of the World,” Erwan Le Duc’s “The Bare Necessity” and Caroline Poggi & Jonathan Vinel’s “Jessica Forever” are among the ten French and French-language films set to compete at the 10th edition of MyFrenchFilmFestival, the online film showcase created by UniFrance.
Ira Sachs, the American director whose latest film “Frankie” competed at Cannes, will preside over the international jury which will comprise of the French actress Agathe Bonitzer (“Isadora’s Children”), Guatemaltec director Jayro Bustamante (“Ixcanul”), American actor-turned-director Brady Corbet (“Vox Lux”), Belgian director Judith Davis (“My Revolution”) and Czech director Michaela Pavlatova (“My Sunny Maad”). The other jury is made up of members of the international press.
“To the Ends of the World,” which world premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight last year, stars Gaspard Ulliel (“Saint Laurent”) as a young French soldier in Indochina, in 1945, who survives a brutal massacre in which his brother dies before his eyes. “The Bare Necessity,” meanwhile, opened at Cannes’s Critics Week this year and is an off-beat love story set in rural France. “Jessica Forever,” which competed at Toronto in the Platform section, is about a fearless young woman who is the leader of a group of lost boys with a violent past seeking peace.
The rest of the competition roster is made up of Méryl Fortunat-Rossi and Valéry Rosier’s “La grande messe;” Vincent Mariette’s “Les fauves;” Romain Laguna’s “Les meteorites;” Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec’s politically-minded animated feature “Les hirondelles de Kaboul” which world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard; Olivier Masset-Depasse’s “Duelles;” Sébastien Marnier’s “L’heure de la sortie.” Two non-competitive side sections are part of this year’s lineup — New Horizons, which will comprise of three titles, “Le cri,” “L’ile des morts,” and “Un bar aux Folies Bergeres;” and Special Screenings, which will include Jean-Francois Richet’s “Crack 6-T” and Yassine Qnia’s “Fais Croquer.” As Ladj Ly’s Golden-Globe nominated “Les Miserables,” both films are portraying life in underprivileged French projects.
Created 10 years ago by UniFrance’s former managing director Regine Hatchondo in collaboration with Xavier Lardoux, the initiative has already garnered 10 million views across 200 territories. Backed by Titra Film, MyFrenchFilmFestival shows ten films and ten shorts translated in 10 languages.
A sign of the festival’s rising status, MyFrenchFilmFestival will be teaming up with 60 VOD platforms – both transactional VOD and subscription-based services — around the world, notably local services like Southest Asia’s HOOQ, China’s Bilibili and South Korea’s Home Choice, Russia’s Okko, Megogo and Ivi, Austria’s Chili, Pluto and Flimmit, Poland’s TPV, Vox.pl and Chili, and Orange in Romania, Senegal and Ivory Coast.
In Japan, MyFrenchFilmFestival will be working with nine different services, including Gyao!, Uplink Cloud, RakutenTV and Videx. Other services include Curzon in the U.K. and Kanopy in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Mexico’s Cinepolis and Filmin Latino for Portual and Spain as well. Other services in the U.S. include Kino Scope, Film Movement, TV5 Monde and Vudu. Aside from being presented online, some films will also be shown overseas in non-commercial screening venues that are part of the French Institute.
Daniela Esner, who became managing director of UniFrance this summer and was previously head of Doc & Film International, said MyFrenchFilmFestival could stir the interest of foreign audiences for French films and lead some films to get picked up for distribution on DVD or even in theaters once they’ve been on streaming services.
Among the new partners is Amazon Prime Video which will stream the film globally (on top of Amazon Instant Video) and will share revenues with right-holders, as will Google Play, Facebook, Mubi, AppleTV and UniFrance’s own service MyFrenchFilmFestival.com, among other platforms. In territories where users are not used to pay for content, including in Latin America, parts of Eastern Europe and Africa, right-holders will receive a flat fee per film from local platforms and UniFrance.