French Film Festival marks 25th anniversary

French Film Festival marks 25th anniversary

The 25th French Film Festival begins next week with screenings and live performance events at the historic Byrd Theatre, featuring 14 feature films, 11 short films and three special events that showcase French cinema.  

This year’s festival will be preceded by a free symposium at the University of Richmond, “French Film: Arts, Science & Technology at Work for Humanity II,” March 27-29. The symposium will feature in-depth discussions with filmmakers, cinema technology specialists and film music composers on the most recent advancements in filmmaking technologies as well as on French film as an art form exploring important investigations into global and social concerns. The symposium is free and open to the public. Simultaneous interpretation with headsets will be provided.

Renowned cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn and a delegation of more than 70 guests will visit Richmond for the festival, including several Oscar, Golden Globe, César and Molière award winners — notably French actor/director/producer Jacques Perrin, music composer Bruno Coulais, actor Philippe Torreton and American animation director Henry Selick.

Film projections at the Byrd Theatre will be controlled by the same film industry professionals responsible for the Cannes International Film Festival.

In addition to world and North American premiere screenings, the festival will host three original cinema-related musical events:

  • The founding member of the rock group The Police, the French Corsican Henry Padovani, who was just recently on stage with Sting for the re-opening of the Bataclan in Paris, will perform a special acoustical guitar set following the screening of his film “Rock’n’ Roll …of Corse!”
  • In partnership with the Cinémathèque Française, the festival is importing rare glass slides and magic lanterns for the first and only performance in the Americas of the show “Magic Lanterns: Resuscitation of a Lost 17th Century Visual Art. What If Cinema Has Existed Since 1659?” by Laurent Mannoni and Laure Parchomenko, accompanied by the Harpist Liénor Mancip and actor Nathan Willcocks. The audience will discover the magic of moving images before the birth of cinema at this “once-in-a-lifetime” showing.
  • A special festival-closing event on Sunday: The North American premiere of the “must-see” live and on-stage performance of “Mec!” with award-winning actor Philippe Torreton and percussionist Edward Perraud, who convey with emotion Allain Leprest’s poetic texts and lyrics.


French director Stéphanie Gillard will screen her film “The Ride” in the presence of acclaimed Native American directors and producers Chris Eyre and Georgina Lightning, along with actor/stuntman George Aguilar and representatives from the eleven Native American Tribes of Virginia.

French director Gérard Krawczyk is creating an original interactive photo exhibit, “1 OUT OF 140,000 Images: Write Your Own Film,” accompanied by music created specifically for the festival and symposium by composers Armand Amar, Maïdi Roth and Pierre Oberkampf.

More than 700 films and more than 850 French actors, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers and artist-technicians have participated in the festival since its Richmond inception in 1992. More than 22,000 people from 42 states visited the festival in 2016.

The festival’s academic sponsors are the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Richmond and the School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Media and film sponsors include the festival’s official print media sponsor, Style Weekly, and the Virginia Film Office. In France, sponsors include CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée), Unifrance-Paris, SACD (Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques), CST (Commission supérieure technique), Adami, Cinemeccania, ARP (Auteurs-Réalisateurs-Producteurs), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

For press interviews with members of the French delegation or pictures to accompany news articles, please contact Julie Fidel at the VCU French Film Festival office (802 W. Franklin Street) at or 804-827-3456.