The Deauville American Film Festival is set to reteam with Cannes to showcase five movies that have played on the Croisette during its next edition and will launch a mini-strand dedicated to anticipated French movies.
Cannes joined forces with Deauville last year following the cancellation of its physical edition due to the pandemic. The partnership allowed Deauville to host world premieres for nine movies that were part of the Cannes 2020 official selection, including Maiwenn’s “DNA” and Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s “A Good Man.”
The initiative was a big success for Deauville, and it also worked well for local distributors who were able to build up some buzz and garner reviews at the festival. Rolling off this positive experience, Deauville is creating a new strand called “Fenêtre Sur” (“Rear Window”) to screen five new French films which will world premiere at the festival and will “reflect the richness of French cinema,” said Deauville’s artistic director Bruno Barde. He added that unlike Cannes which mostly caters to film professionals and artists, Deauville is a public-driven festival with an audience that includes two-thirds locals.
“Deauville is the second biggest festival in France behind Cannes and it’s always proven to be a solid local launchpad for distributors handling American movies so they were naturally enthused by the prospects of coming to the festival with their French releases,” said Barde, who added that “Fenetre sur” was a reference to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” “These movies will not only be watched by French people in the audience but also by American filmmakers who will be there to present their films in competition,” said Barde, who’s in Cannes watching films non-stop.
Meanwhile, Deauville will expand its alliance with Cannes to screen five American films which are playing at the festival this year.
“At Deauville, we have forged a symbolic dialogue between French and American perspectives, and it works as a sort of shot-reverse-shot, for instance with the Prix d’Ornano where a French movie receives a prize from the American press, or through the jury which almost entirely comprises French artists, and sometimes Europeans, who discover and judge independent American films,” said Barde, who also pointed to a new prize which he created to honor a French filmmaker who have made a movie shot in the U.S. or about the U.S. Since its recent inception, this prize has gone to Jacques Audiard with “The Sisters Brothers” and Olivier Assayas with “Personal Shopper.”
Barde said the number of films submitted was down 20% from previous years, mainly due to the pandemic and the timing of Cannes which was pushed from May to July. The artistic director said he had nevertheless managed to choose nine out of the 14-title competition which will include several high-profile U.S. movies. This year’s selection will present 40 American movies and will pay tribute to 30 artists.
The Deauville festival will be presided over by Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Melancholia”); while the Revelation jury will be presided over by Clemence Poesy (“The Tunnel”). Last year’s festival opened with “Minari” and saw Sean Durkin’s “The Nest” win three awards. Speaking of the health crisis which is still looming over France, Barde said he hopes Deauville will be a place of reunion and rejoicing as Cannes has been, and chose this year’s poster — which shows two people kissing — as a hopeful symbol.