Expanding this year to three locations instead of one, the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema will now be presented at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, the IFC Center, and the Cantor Film Center at New York University.
The festival will thus boost its audience capacity. It will kick off Friday March 10 with a screening of "Royal Palace!" at the Alice Tully Hall (1,000 seats) in the presence of the film's director, screenwriter, and lead actress Valérie Lemercier, and her producer Edouard Weil. The French Ambassador in the United States will also join in the opening ceremony, along with Richard Pena, artistic director of Lincoln Center, and John Kochman, the newly appointed director of Unifrance USA.
The 2006 line-up includes 15 films: "Grey Souls" by Yves Angelo, "Cold Showers" by Antony Cordier, "Fauteuils d’orchestre" by Danièle Thompson, "J’ai vu tuer Ben Barka" by Serge Le Péron, "You Are So Beautiful" by Isabelle Mergault, " Not Here to Be Loved" by Stéphane Brizé, "Hell" by Danis Tanovic, "Nice Girl" by Sophie Fillières, "La Moustache" by Emmanuel Carrère, "Royal Palace!" by Valérie Lemercier, "The Little Lieutenant" by Xavier Beauvois, "Les Poupées Russes" by Cédric Klapisch, "Works" by Brigitte Roüan, "Heading South" by Laurent Cantet, and "Zim & Co" by Pierre Jolivet.
Directors and lead actors will be in New York as festival guests to present their films to the press and public, and will, as is the custom at the event, take part in Q&A sessions. The delegation includes thirteen directors: Sophie Fillières, Valérie Lemercier, Isabelle Mergault, Brigitte Roüan, Danièle Thompson, Yves Angelo, Stéphane Brizé, Laurent Cantet, Emmanuel Carrère, Antony Cordier, Cédric Klapisch, Serge Le Péron, and Danis Tanovic.
Four actors will join the delegation: Nathalie Baye, Medeea Marinescu, Adrien Jolivet, and Christopher Thompson.
The delegation will also include a number of French producers and exporters: Cedomir Kolar (ASAP Films), Bruno Levy (Ce qui me meut), Jean-Louis Livi (f comme Film), Franck Chorot (Gaumont), Anne-Dominique Toussaint (Les Films des Tournelles), Christine Gozlan (Thelma Productions), Edouard Weil (Les Films du Triangle), as well as sales agents from Les Films du Losange, Gaumont, Films Distribution, Pathé Distribution, Rezo International, and TF1 International.
It is worth noting that, to date, three of the fifteen titles presented at the event have secured a distributor in the United States.
Registering just under $200 million in box office receipts in 2005, French films achieved record results in the United States. Leading the top 5 performing titles was, not surprisingly, the Academy Award winner "March of the Penguins" (also released as "The Emperor's Journey") by Luc Jacquet. Other films, too, have achieved fine results, including "Switchblade Romance," "A Very Long Engagement," "Look At Me" (aka "Like An Image"), "The Chorus" (aka "Chorists" and "The Choir"), and "The Beat That My Heart Skipped."
The Rendez-Vous With French Cinema is organized by Unifrance and Lincoln Center, with backing from the IFC, as well as the Grand Marnier Foundation, the Société Générale Private Banking Group, agnès b., the Florence Gould Foundation, Ile de France French Gourmet Cheeses, and TV5Monde. Unifrance would also like to thank Air France, L.V.T. (Laser Video Titles), and the Cultural Services Department at the French Embassy in the United States.