Fifty French artists will be present at the new edition of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), among whom Nathalie Baye, Xavier Beauvois, Robert Guédiguian, Louis Garrel, Sandrine Bonnaire, Ariane Ascaride, Michel Hazanavicius, and Robin Campillo, signalling the diversity and dynamism of French films, be it by new or established artists.
This year, Toronto provides an opportunity in particular to emerging talents on the French film scene, while remaining faithful to its mission of being open to diversity: from Deniz Gamze Ergüven, whose second film Kings will be presented in the Gala section, to Teddy Lussi-Modeste, Xavier Legrand, Mélanie Laurent, Joan Chemla (whose debut feature If You Saw His Heart will be presented in Competition), and Coralie Fargeat, who has taken her first steps into feature filmmaking with a horror film (Revenge).
At a moment when the festival launches a crowdfunding campaign in support of women filmmakers (Share her Journey), the presence of a great many French women directors in the selection recalls the specificity of the French film industry, which is a pioneer in an international domain which is still fundamentally masculine..
Women at the center of the game
The struggle of women to win their freedom is a theme running through the French selection this year, whether the films in which these heroines appear are set in France, Tangiers, or Casablanca (Custody by Xavier Legrand, Razzia by Nabil Ayouch, and Catch The Wind by Gaël Morel), in the countryside during the First World War (The Guardians by Xavier Beauvois), in South Central in Los Angeles in 1992 (Kings by Deniz Gamze Ergüven), or seen through the alert and explicitly feminist gaze of Tonie Marshall and Agnès Varda. UniFrance is particularly thrilled about the presence this year in Toronto of great French actresses (Nathalie Baye, Sandrine Bonnaire, Léa Drucker, Emmanuelle Devos…) alongside such newcomers as Iris Bry, who will all carry the standard of this program of committed films.
After the thundering international success of Raoul Peck's documentary I Am Not Your Negro, presented at TIFF last year, French cinema continues to wave the flag of political and social commitment, notably via one of the first fiction films to deal with the period of the French AIDS activism group Act Up (BPM (Beats Per Minute) by Robin Campillo), the latest film by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A Season in France) about the consequences of the war in Central Africa, and the new film by one of our greatest militant filmmakers Robert Guédiguian, who, in his new film, deals with the demise of the workers' struggle and the new issues of human migration.
Last but not least, we praise the way the festival takes into consideration two specificities of French cinema: comedies (with the selection of Sens de la fête by the duo Nakache/Toledano) as the closing film, and international coproductions, with a high quality selection.
Carte blanche to Robert Guédiguian
On the occasion of the presentation of The House by the Sea in the Masters section, the Alliance Française will honor the Marseille filmmaker with a retrospective of three films: Le Voyage en Arménie, Snows of Kilimanjaro, and My Sweet Pepper Land, by Hiner Saleem, which he produced. Robert Guédiguian will also give a masterclass during this retrospective.
UniFrance at the Film Market
As is the case each year, UniFrance provides a space dedicated to its members within the Film Market at the Hyatt Hotel. Nineteen French exporters will be present this year at the UniFrance stand. Last but not least, on September 9, the association will organize its traditional French Night, an evening that brings together the teams of the French films in selection, producers, exporters, journalists, distributors, and international professionals.
- The UniFrance "French Films in Toronto" brochure can be downloaded below.
French cinema at TIFF 2017 in a few figures:
- 50 invited artists (shorts and features)
- 28 majority features
- 27 minority coproduction features
- 11 shorts
- 8 features made by women
French cinema at TIFF 2017, section by section
Contemporary World Cinema:
Short films - Official Selection:
Short films - Wavelengths:
- Sandrine Bonnaire and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun for A Season in France
- Xavier Beauvois, Nathalie Baye, and Iris Bry for The Guardians
- Neïl Beloufa for Occidental
- Nabil Ayouch and Maryam Touzani for Razzia
- Michael Haneke for Happy End
- Joan Chemla, Gael García Bernal, and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart for If You Saw His Heart
- Emmanuel Gras for Makala
- Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor for Caniba
- Gaël Morel and Sandrine Bonnaire for Catch The Wind
- Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Robin Campillo for BPM (Beats Per Minute)
- Denis Ménochet, Xavier Legrand, and Léa Drucker for Custody
- Gilles Lellouche, Franck Nakache, Éric Toledano, and Suzanne Clément for C'est la vie!
- Gilles Lellouche, Maria Valverde, and Mélanie Laurent for Diving
- Tonie Marshall for Number One
- Michel Hazanavicius and Louis Garrel for Redoubtable
- Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert for Big Bad Fox & Other Tales
- Narimane Mari for Le Fort des fous
- Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Daniel Craig, and Halle Berry for Kings
- Robert Guédiguian and Ariane Ascaride for The House by the Sea
- Lise Leplat Prudhomme for Jeannette: the Childhood of Joan of Arc
- Teddy Lussi-Modeste, Roschdy Zem, and Maïwenn for The Price of Success
- Alireza Khatami for Oblivion Verses
- Ben Russell for Good Luck
- Alain Gomis for Félicité
- Coralie Fargeat and Matilda Lutz for Revenge