The Inaugural Champs Elysees Film Festival has a Packed Line Up and a Full Program Showing in Renown Paris Arthouses

Festival initiative “U.S. in Progress” introduces four U.S. productions in post-production to European buyers.

American Independent films, French Independent Films and Oscar Nominated Foreign Language Films will be showcased.

The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein wil receive a tribute and will host a retrospective of his films.

Donald Sutherland will host a screening of Klute and will receive a Medal of Arts and Letters bestowed by Frederic Mitterrand.

The Champs Elysees Film Festival’s U.S. President is Michael Madsen

The French Festival President is Lambert Wilson

The discussions held so often about the sustainability of arthouse theaters, about the joining of forces between them and festivals and the ownership of festivals themselves, and sometimes of theaters as well, by distributors as a way to sustain the three key players of this precious triangle of culture, continue as the first Champs Elysees Film Festival presents a jam-packed line up and full program of events at its inaugural edition.

The seven day festival, June 6-12, has been formed and is owned by the independent distributor Sophie Dulac. It is exciting for me to go to see the arthouses we have already written about in the area of the Champs Elysees - the Balzac, its rival the Lincoln, the Publicis, and the two major chains, Gaumont Champs Elysees and Ugc George V. Another interesting aspect of this upcoming event is the festival's ownership by a French distributor, Sophie Dulac. This is one of two similarities between Gutek and Dulac. The New Horizons and the American Film Festivals are owned by Roman Gutek whose distribution company Gutek is the largest arthouse distributor in Poland. Similarly Sophie Dulac seems to "own" this festival. Somewhat analagous to this is the "owning" of distribution company Tribeca Films by the Tribeca Film Festival or the Sundance Select Distribution arm owned by the Sundance Film Festival. The New York Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festivals have yet to declare themselves distributors but do own the arthouses in which to show "their" films year round in festival settings.

Dulac explains the impetus to launch the Champs Elysees Film Festival, “As Paris’ first truly international film festival, our mission is to create a bridge between the independent American and French film industries. In the most beautiful city in the world and one with a worldwide association to cinema, the Champs Elysées Film Festival will be a celebration of film promoting the work of young filmmakers and honoring the work of established directors.” She adds, “We want to throw a spotlight on independent film from France and the U.S. We will welcome famous names, offer new films, open up discussions between members of the film industry, give short films a special showcase and invite audiences to gala previews.”

I personally hope the tourists of Champs Elysees see this as a special opportunity to share inside festival experiences with international professionals and that it brings in more business than ordinary theatrical fare brings to the same theaters, thus proving that festivals serve as a new branch of film distribution and that the joining of forces between distributor, exhibitor and festival point toward a new mode of profitability for all parties.

U.S. in Progress was first presented at the American Film Festival in Wroclaw Poland in November. This is the second similarity between Dulac and Gutek. U.S. in Progress will now be here as well. U.S. in Progress is in fact a joint initiative between the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, the Champs Elysees Film Festival in Paris and Black Rabbit Film, a company of Adeline Monzier who also created the association of European indie distributors called EuropaDistribution. It is the first and only industry event devoted to U.S. indies in Europe. Its aim is to present U.S. indie films in post-production to European buyers in order to foster the circulation and distribution of American indie films in Europe. This presentation of American independent films in post-production to European buyers to promote the distribution of American independent films in Europe is uniquely one of the top new developments in the industry. The program works to forge inroads between the generation of talented American filmmakers emerging today and European buyers. I am so proud to be serving on its jury as I did on the first edition as well.

The other sections are: Official Selection of American Independent Films, French Galas, American Galas, Oscar Nominated Foreign Language Films and Shorts. A tribute to Harvey Weinstein will be presented on June 6 at an event to celebrate his career. Weinstein will participate in a roundtable conversation to discuss French/American co-productions and a Retrospective of 11 of his films will be shown throughout the week.

The American independent films selected as part of the inaugural program include Richard Linklater’s Bernie (Isa: Hyde Park, U.S.: Millennium) with Jack Black, Shirley Maclaine and Matthew McConaughey; Jesus Henry Christ (Isa: Im Global, U.S. E1) with Toni Collette and Michael Sheen; Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (Isa: Voltage, U.S. IFC) starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener and Elizabeth Olsen and Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (Isa: Submarine, U.S. Music Box). An Audience Award will be given out to the most popular American Independent. American Galas include Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids (Isa: Red Granite, U.S. Roadside Attractions/ Lionsgate) and Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take (2010) in 3D.

French films include Comme Un Homme (Isa: Memento) directed by Safy Nebbou; Journal de France (Isa: Wild Bunch) directed by Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon; Vous n'avez encore rien vu (Isa: Studiocanal) directed by Alain Resnais and Wrong (Isa: Kinology) helmed by Quentin Dupieux.

The Champs Elysees Film Festival has selected esteemed French Actor Lambert Wilson for the role of French President and Michael Madsen has accepted the role of the Festival’s U.S. President.

The festival will pay tribute to the actor Donald Sutherland who will be at the Festival to host a screening of the masterpiece Klute directed by Alan J. Pakula followed by a “Hollywood Conversation” with the iconic actor. Frederic Mitterrand will bestow Sutherland with the medal of Commander of Arts and Letters that evening.

Official Selection of American Independent Films

Blank City, a documentary directed by Celine Danhier’s

Bernie directed by Richard Linklater starring Jack Black, Shirley Maclaine and Matthew McConaughey

Jesus Henry Christ with Toni Colette, Jason Spevack and Michael Sheen

Keep The Lights On directed by Ira Sachs

Luv directed by Sheldon Candis

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Matthew Akers acclaimed documentary

Not Waving But Drowning directed by Devyn Waitt, winner of U.S. in Progress Prize, Wroclaw, Poland.

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding directed by Bruce Beresford starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener and Elizabeth Olsen

Tabloid, Errol Morris fascinating documentary

The Perfect Family, directed by Anne Renton and starring Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel and Jason Ritter

French Galas

Adieu Berthe directed by Bruno Podalydès

Comme Un Homme directed by Safy Nebbou

Du Vent Dans Mes Mollets directed by Carine Tardieu

Journal De France directed by Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon

La Clinique De L’Amour directed by Artus de Penguern

L’Air De Rien directed by Grégory Magne and Stéphane Viard

Mains Armees directed by Pierre Jolivet

Quand Je Serai Petit directed by Jean-Paul Rouve

Vous N’Avez Encore Rien Vu directed by Alain Resnais

Wrong helmed by Quentin Dupieux.

American Galas

After Life directed by Agnieszka Wojtow

Brake directed by Gabe Torres

Bitch Slap directed by Rick Jacobson

Friends With Kids directed by Jennifer Westfeldt

My Soul To Take (3D) directed by Wes Craven

Perfect Host directed by Nick Tomnay

Terri, directed by Azazel Jacobs

Summertime directed by Matthew Gordon.

The Champs Elysees Film Festival intends to reflect the diversity of international production by offering the public a selection of the 2012 Oscar nominated foreign language films, some never before seen in France:

Bullhead directed by Michael R.Roskam (Belgium)

Dans Ses Veux directed by Juan José Campanella (Spain/Argentina)(2010)

Monsieur Lazhar directed by Philippe Falardeau (Canada)

Une Separation directed by Asghar Farhadi (Iran)

72 Days directed by Danilo Serbedzija (Croatia)

Letters To Angel directed by Sulev Keedus (Estonia)

Volcano directed by Runar Runarsson (Iceland)

Films being screened as part of Harvey Weinstein’s retrospective include The Aviator, Chicago, Gangs Of New York, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill 1&2, The English Patient, Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare In Love, Good Will Hunting and The Yards.

More than thirty short films comprise the Champs Elysees Film Festival’s Official Selection of Short Films which were selected by a French industry team as well as four major film school programs: University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Columbia University’s Columbia University Film Festival for the United States and Paris-based film school La Femis for France:

French Shorts Selection

Hurlement D’Un Poisson directed by Sébastien Carfora

It’S A Miracul’House directed by Stéphane Freiss

Les Meutes directed by Manuel Schapira

Mon Canard directed by Emmanuelle Michelet & Vincent Fouquet

Les Grossesses De Charlemagne directed by Nicolas Slomka and Matthieu Rumani,

Plume directed by Barry Purves

Personne(S) directed by Marc Fouchard

La Fille De L’Homme directed by Manuel Schapira

Kiss & Kill directed by Alain Ross

USC School of Cinematic Arts Shorts Selection

Little Spoon directed by Lauren Fash

Ellen directed by Kyle Hausmann-Stokes

Efrain directed by Matthew Breault

Fig directed by Ryan Coogler

The Nature Of Fall directed by Tomer Stolz

New York University Tisch School of the Arts Shorts Selection

Little Horse directed by Levi Abrino

Border Land directed by Alexander Smolowe

Premature directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green

Down In Number 5 directed by Kim Spurlock

Columbia University Film Festival Shorts Selection

Rolling On The Floor Laughing directed by Rusel Harbaugh

Motherland directed by Shario Siddiqui

Hatch directed by Christoph Kusching

Crossing directed by Gina Atwater

Off Season directed by Jonathan Van Tulleken

The Hirosaki Players directed by Jeff Sousa

La Femis Shorts Selection

Goose directed by Morgan Simon

Demain Ce Sera Bien directed by Pauline Gay

On Traks directed by Laurent Navarri

Bye Bye Wild Boy directed by Julie Lena
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