After going virtual in 2021, the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema Festival is returning as an in-person event at the Lincoln Center in New York with a bevy of heavy hitters, including Claire Denis, Juliette Binoche, Jacques Audiard, Arnaud Desplechin and Mathieu Amalric.

Kicking off with the North American premiere of Denis’ Berlinale Silver Bear winning movie “Fire” (also called “Both Sides of the Blade”) on March 3, the festival’s roster is curated by Film at Lincoln Center, which is also co-organizing the event with Unifrance, the French film advocacy org.

Besides “Fire,” starring Binoche and Vincent Lindon as two lovers whose relationship falls apart, the main highlights of the 27th edition include Audiard’s sexy relationship drama “Paris, 13th District,” Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s debut “Anaïs in Love,” which premiered at Cannes’ Critics Week, and Desplechin’s “Deception” with Lea Seydoux.

“We feel lucky to have assembled such a prestigious roster of guests and exciting premieres for this year’s edition, which is taking place in the backdrop of a volatile political situation with the war in Ukraine and the enduring pandemic,” said Unifrance’s managing director Daniela Elstner, who’s been working hand-in-hand with the org’s head of the New York office, Adeline Monzier.

“This event is one of the cornerstones of our mission at Unifrance, which is about shining a spotlight on the new faces of French cinema, engaging young audiences and forging ties between French and American industry players,” added Elstner who previously ran the sales company Doc & Film International.

Monzier said that while the U.S. market has become more challenging for foreign-language movies due to the fact that audiences have not yet fully returned to theaters amid the pandemic, French movies still account for nearly half of the country’s theatrical admissions for non-U.S. movies.

“As we can see even with this year’s lineup, a wide range of French movies are able to find domestic distribution,” said Monzier. She noted that the audience for the Rendez-Vous in New York also followed the event online in 2021 as the same number of tickets were sold for virtual screenings than during a normal year.

Elstner and Monzier have made sure the festival wasn’t just a carpet affair and have put together a vast program of screenings, masterclasses and panels aimed at general audiences and students from various universities, including NYU and Colombia. Anticipated talks include Denis and Jim Jarmusch, the guest of honor at this year’s Rendez-Vous, as well as Binoche and Déborah Lukumuena, the Cesar-winning actor of Constance Meyer’s “Robuste,” which is also playing at fest and is part of the Young French Cinema program.

A record number of producers and French sales agents, from Wild Bunch to Gaumont, Playtime, Pulsar and Le Pacte, are attending the Rendez-Vous and will take part in a workshop surveying the U.S. market as well as pitching sessions. The workshop will be hosted by industry veteran Ira Deutchman and will bring together some major domestic distributors such as Cohen Media Group, Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Film and MUBI.

Although the Rendez-Vous is mostly non-competitive, the festival is launching this year the Emerging Film Award, which will be chosen by students and will go to one of the first or second films selected for the Rendez-Vous Award. An audience prize will also be handed out.

The Rendez-Vous With French Cinema is taking place March 3–13.