The 2015 edition in numbers:
• 22 feature and 4 short films presented.
• A delegation of 53 French artists who came to present, champion, and sometimes sell their films.
• 12,000 spectators in the 5 partner sites.
• 15 masterclasses (among whom Nathalie Baye, Mélanie Laurent, Guillaume Canet, Thomas Cailley, producers Kristina Larsen and Anne-Dominique Toussaint, to mention just a few)
• 4 films sold (Breathe, bought by Film Movement; Fidelio, Alice's Journey bought by First Run Features, May Allah bless France bought by Strand Releasing, and Party Girl bought by DistriB Films USA).
A particular focus on film music
Thanks to support from the Sacem, UniFrance accompanied two bands who came to give Q&A sessions after the screenings of three of the films in the selection. UniFrance also organized a lunch with American professionals (composers and musical supervisors), a showcase to close the festival with LoW Entertainment and Quentin Dupieux, and a concert at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Meetings with American students
For the first time, UniFrance and the Ambassade de France organized meetings with New York students. French guests accepted to share their knowledge and expertise, their acting, producing, and directing experience, and appealed to young people, who were encouraged to embrace French cinema in both artistic and economic terms. The visiting French artists appreciated this initiative, for it allowed them to get the feel of new foreign spectators, and the students also enjoyed the experience and the possibility it gave them of meeting leading French film professionals.
Two French artists who attended the Rendez-Vous share their experience
Thomas Cailley, director of Love at First Fight:
"I was only at the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema for a short, but intense 72 hours. However, it was enough time to present two very fine screenings of the film at the Lincoln Center and the IFC, to a big and involved crowd. I also had time to do a few interviews with the American press and to at last meet the film's American distributor, Marcus Ho (Strand Releasing) and to begin talking about the release strategy (English title, poster, trailer, theaters). All this left me with the feeling that our film was really well received by the public and the press - an encouraging foretaste prior to the American release."
Lucie Borleteau, director of Fidelio, Alice's Journey:
"I arrived with Ariane Labed in a blue plane, a plane like a ship. Thanks to Unifrance I met Élodie Bouchez, who was going to the festival to present Reality, when I boarded the plane. What joy!
New York is a port, so it's a great place for a stopover. The spectators at the Lincoln Center screening came up and spoke to me about really intimate things. I discovered that in English, a cargo ship is also a 'freighter.' Audiences are warm, of all ages, movie buffs, and fond of French cinema.
Our journey allowed us to meet our American distributor First Run Features. They were delighted that the screening was sold out, and it was terrific to be able to spend a moment with them speaking in practical terms about the American release, whose date is yet to be announced.
Having a stopover is also about taking the time to snap a few self-portraits, absorbing the city's energy, visiting museums, and ambling in the streets, where every corner and every detail reminds you of a film set.
So long, N.Y., it was too short. Just enough time to fall in love with the city and to hope to return for the film's release!"