City of Lights, City of Angels Festival

Last year, Edith Piaf  biopic La Vie en rose”  by Director Olivier Dahan opened City of Lights, City of Angels film festival and went on to win the best actress Oscar for Marion Cotillard. That picture also eventually grossed more than $10 million for Picturehouse in the U.S.

Many French movies however will only get a chance to be seen or to sell or indeed to find distribution thanks to the Hollywood-based showcase of French cinema, which should gather up to 12,000 attendees this year.

Launched by the French-American Cultural Fund, the event is also presented by the DGA, the Writers Guild and France’s composers union Sacem. This year ‘s edition will includes 28 features, among which movies like cedric kaplish’s “Paris” starring juiette Binoche and Romain Duris are very much in demand and have already sod out.

With a mix of commercial films and arthouse fare, Colcoa has a less cerebral feel than New York’s similar event, the Unifrance-sponsored Rendez-Vous With French Cinema. “It’s become mainstream, while keeping auteur films in the mix,” says Kathy Garmezy of the Directors Guild of America, one of the event’s sponsors.

 Colcoa organizers want to stir up interest not just in distributing French films but also to showcase directing and acting talent as well as remake rights. 

Usually smaller distributors who acquire French films are based in New York, but it is important to be in Hollywood in order to reach and develop contacts with producers and agents.

 ”The heart of the industry being in Hollywood it is essential to bring these films and the people who created them to studios and specialty divisions” according to Garmezy who works as the DGA’s assistant executive director for government and international affairs

 Three-quarters of the tickets are reserved for industry members, with the rest available to the public, including a loyal core of L.A.’s fairly important French expat community.

“I think Colcoa is a great festival that showcases films from France. It really is for both the L.A. community and the industry,” says who acquired Bertrand Blier‘s “How Much Do You Love Me?” Starring Monica Belluci and Gerard Depardieu after seeing how the film performed at the festival. “The success of the event shows there are really audiences for foreign films” says François Truffart director and programmer of the festival.

 However he also points out that the foreign-film business has become more competitive, mainly because there are films from countries like Mexico and Spain attracting bigger audiences abroad.

 Today independent distributors are focusing on star vehicles and genre films which means the market for foreign films has become tighter. Producers working on foreign films are looking at how they can attract bigger audiences through targeted outlets such as Netflix for example or even through downloads. “The potentials for foreign films is in the US is not completely utilized by distributors, says Truffard.

City of Lights, City of Angels

Location: Directors Guild Theater, Hollywood, USA

Date: April 14-20



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