14 September, 2008

French Film Festival, all the way through Colombia

Hiroshima, mon amour, inside the festival's homage to Alain Resnais.

A very busy agenda is what the organizers of the 7th French Film Festival (12th September – 31th October) promise for the Colombian public that is interested in European cinema in 12 cities of the country.

Organized and sponsored by the local Embassy of France in partnership with Alliance Française, the event that started seven years ago with a simple retrospective of “old” French movies, this year offers recent titles, a special homage to Alain Renais, an exhibition of African movies, documentaries from Europe, Asia and Africa and, better yet, a workshop with French screenplay experts that will work with Colombian moviemakers.

Cultural supervisor of the French Embassy and director of the festival Annouchka de Andrade talked with “Eye on South America” to give us an idea of what’s happening in this edition.

Take a look!

Which motivations did you have to create a French film festival in Colombia?

We see the festival as an opportunity for the Colombian public to see a different kind of cinema, which is not always shown in commercial theaters here. Besides, we wanted to gather in an event all the films we could, trying to offer people good French movies. For three years now, we included homage to a French director and tried to create programs as complete as possible.

How do you select the titles?

Besides organizing cultural activities related to French cinema here in Colombia, I also work as a collaborator for French festivals that want to include Colombian movies in their programs. Having those contacts, I get to bring the best French movies that compete in those festivals to our event here. The idea is not only to bring the titles, but also to try distribution deals, whenever it is possible, between the films and Colombian independent distributors. Nevertheless, sometimes I have problems with rights and even with subtitles. So, not all the movies I want to bring can actually come.

Do you think that the French cinema is well represented in Colombia?

I think there are still not many French films being exhibited here, either commercially or not commercially. But it is growing every year.

Are there any special activities related to the French festival this year?

This year no director we wanted to bring to the festival could actually come. But we are bringing two French experts in screenplay to work with Colombian moviemakers and try to help them sell their stories after participating on workshops that were specially organized with this goal.

Where does the money for the festival come from?

The local French Embassy pays it all. But we work in collaboration with Alliance Française and also with the Culture Ministry here in Colombia.

I understand Alliance Française has a permanent program of French movies in its branches through Colombia. Is it so?

That is true. I permanently send them DVDs. And as for the festival, Alliance Française is the channel we have to program the films not only in the main Colombian cities, which are Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, but in 12 cities, achieving a greater public, which is essential to us.

:: For the complete program and activities of the 7th French Film Festival in Colombia, take a look at their website.

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