Alliance Française French Film Festival celebrates record season with 157,000+ attendees [fr]
The Alliance Française French Film Festival (3 March - 21 April 2015) has emerged as the most successful in the Festival’s proud 26-year history with more than 157 000 entries, an overall increase of almost 21% compared to 2014. The last record season accounted 133 000 entries.
This edition also marked the growth of the festival within Australia, with Hobart joining the group of cities part of the festival: Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Byron Bay. A selection of films has also been screened for the first time in Casula and Parramatta in the greater Sydney area. In total, 10 cities and 20 cinemas have taken part in this remarkable edition.
His Excellency, Mr. Christophe Lecourtier, Ambassador of France to Australia, said, “The Festival has been a great success and an exceptional way of showcasing French creativity. In reaching over 157,000 spectators, this year has marked an historic achievement. And well beyond the realm of cinema, 2015 is an important year for the relations between our two countries, as we acknowledge the significance of Australia’s contribution in ensuring that the France of today is a free, sovereign and independent nation. Merci!”
Presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia along with the generous support of Presenting Sponsor Peugeot and screening partner Palace Cinemas, this stellar seasonal event would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of many individuals and organisations.
Dedicated to a mainly Australian audience, the festival has proposed a line-up of 49 diverse French features and documentaries, most of which were premiere screenings, the 2015 season beguiled audiences of all ages and tastes. Programme favourites included ‘3 Hearts’ by Benoît Jacquot, ‘Gemma Bovery’ by Anne Fontaine, ‘The Bélier Family’ by Eric Lartigau, ‘Diplomacy’ by Volker Schlöndorff, ‘Nicholas on Holiday’ by Laurent Tirard and ‘Far From Men’ by David Oelhoffen.
In partnership with Institut Français, the governmental agency for the promotion of French culture abroad, the festival has proposed a selection of 3 heritage films dedicated to the 1st World War, showing once again the deep historical links that unite Australia and France.
Also bringing their cinematic passion to proceedings were renowned movie critics, Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, who were this year’s honoured Patrons. “The attendance at the 2015 Alliance Française French Film Festival is a record and further proof of the enthusiasm Australian audiences have for the cinema of France,” observed Stratton. “This was a varied programme and also a stimulating one. Our thanks go to the organisers and, of course, to the filmmakers themselves.”
This year also were inaugurated a first “Critics prize” and a short-film competition. The jury of the critics prize was composed with the Australian journalists who attended in November 2014 the junket organized in Paris by UniFrance Films, the office in charge of the promotion of the French cinema abroad. Every year, the junket organized in conjunction with the Embassy of France in Australia, allows several Australian journalists to meet with French directors and actors.
Australian audiences have long been great supporters of French cinema. This is evident when you consider that in 2014, 27 films backed by French production companies, including Lucy, released on local screens drawing close to 1.9 million spectators, resulting in an increase of 67.5% compared to 2013.