This event was organized by the Alliance Française network in Australia with support from the French Embassy and Unifrance. Over the years, this festival has become a fixture on the local cultural calendar. This year, it attracted over 95,000 spectators, 10,000 more than in 2009, with attendance figures among the highest for any French cinema event worldwide.
With 630 screenings held at the Palace Cinemas, the selection of 43 recent films were highly acclaimed by both audiences and local media. Aside from the opening film, ミックマック, and the closing film, Gainsbourg: Je t'aime...Moi non plus, the films selected were presented in 6 festival sections: Blood Is Thicker Than Water, First Feature Films, Comedy, Love At First Sight, Resistance, and Kids.
The most popular feature films were Le Petit Nicolas and LOL (Laughing Out Loud), as well as three titles that were graced with the presence of their directors: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Micmacs, and Welcome.
The enthusiastic response to these films has encouraged distributors to raise their films' release patterns, and in some cases to opt for theatrical release instead of DVD release.
The festival opened in Sydney in the presence of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who presented his film Micmacs, which was released by Hopscotch on April 1st. During the opening ceremony, the French Ambassador presented the prestigious artistic award, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, to Australian filmmaker George Miller.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet also inaugurated the festival in Melbourne, and led two master classes with over 200 film students at each session.
Philippe Lioret took part in promoting his film Welcome in Sydney and Melbourne, with five Q&A sessions held at gala screenings and interviews scheduled with representatives from all the Australian media operators.
Jan Kounen closed the festival in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Canberra with a presentation of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.
21 films from the festival selection had already secured a distribution deal for Australia or New Zealand prior to the event, with their release slated in upcoming months.
Unifrance is delighted with the resounding success of this event, for which its participation included logistic and financial support (essentially relating to the presence of French artists), as well as the hosting of a press junket held last fall in the lead-up to the festival aimed at ensuring press coverage for the event and the commercial release of films selected.
Australia is a key territory for French films, ranking among the top 10 markets worldwide in terms of attendance figures for French films. France boasts the 4th highest number of films released on Australian screens annually at this time, after the USA, the UK, and homegrown productions.
While Australian audiences show appreciation for all film genres, they have a particular fondness for French comedies, especially romantic comedies.
Efforts made by Unifrance, the Alliance Française and the French Embassy in Australia over the past five years have certainly paid off, with a rise registered in French films' market share and in the number of film acquisitions in this avidly Francophile nation.