French Film Festival returns on 18th year

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The season for French cinema in the Philippines has arrived as the annual French Film Festival presented by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Alliance française de Manille and Institut Français, under the French cultural program, FrancoPhil, opens to the public from June 7 to 9 at the Greenbelt 3 cinemas in Makati City.

Now on its 18th edition, the French Film Festival has been an instrument in celebrating the passion for cinema shared by both France, known as the birthplace of cinema and the Philippines, a pioneering cinema in Southeast Asia.

Opening this year’s festival is Le Prénom (What’s in a Name?), a film chronicling a soon-to-be father’s revelation of his future son’s name which humorously brings his family into “utter chaos.”

“Family and humor are common themes in French cinema. Most people are surprised to know that both French and Philippine cinema are alike in this way, which may explain the following that the French Film Festival has made through the years,” said the French Embassy’s Audiovisual Attaché Martin Macalintal.

Four other French films will be screened to Filipino viewers free of charge. The line-up includes Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Moliere), De Rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone), Du Vent dans mes mollets (The Dandelions), and Camille redouble (Camille Rewinds).

As both a venue to promote French cinema and to give tribute to Philippine film, this year’s festival follows the prestigious Cannes Film Festival where the Philippines was honored with four feature films: Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan and Adolfo Alix, Jr.’s Death March in the Un Certain Regard category, Erik Matti’s On The Job in the Director’s Fortnight, and a special screening of the digitally-restored classic of the late National Artist for Film, Lino Brocka, Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag.

Moreover, the 18th French Film Festival, as it has in the previous years, reaffirms Franco-Philippine cooperation in film. The French Embassy offers its full support to the Philippine film industry by facilitating exchanges between the Centre national du cinema (CNC) and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), initially for the establishment of the National Film Archives of the Philippines.

France continues to be a model for the preservation and development of cinema. This is evidenced through assistance programs and funding made available by the CNC. Every time they buy their tickets at the box office, French movie goers contribute to a fund redistributed by the CNC to support the production of new films. Furthermore, through the Cinemas du Monde programme, foreign films co-produced by France are also entitled to benefit from this fund.

French Ambassador to the Philippines Gilles Garachon assures that “In the context of the cooperation being developed between the FDCP and the CNC, the latter could share a model of best practices to help the growth of Philippine cinema in the coming years.”

For screening schedules, visit Spot.ph or http://www.ambafrance-ph.org/18th-French-Film-Festival. For inquiries, call 0915-805-3860 or e-mail at frenchfilmfest@gmail.com.

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