This year, the Helvetia French Film Festival (from September 13 through 17 in Bienne/Biel, a bilingual city in the north of Switzerland) celebrated its thirteenth anniversary in a marvelous fashion, with the presentation of forty-nine features, most of which were subtitled in German, in the presence of fifteen French artists.
But this year's major news was that an additional city, and no insignificant one at that, participated in the festivities. Bern, the capital of the Swiss confederation, located thirty minutes from Bienne, presented sixteen screenings of films from the festival selection, six of which were accompanied by artists (Blandine Lenoir and Jean-Pierre Améris), critics, and personalities (Guillaume Hoarau, footballer in the Young Boys de Berne, presented Step by Step), at the CineClub cinema of Berne, bringing together 1,500 spectators, which was the goal for this first edition outside the traditional venue in Bienne.
For its organizers, and likewise for UniFrance, which has been supporting the BFFF since its creation, 2017 will hence remain as the year of the extension of this festival which strives to combine economic efficiency with hosting cinema artists. Although there is no competition at the BFFF, the jury of the Discovery section nevertheless awarded the prize for Best Short Film to a Franco-Belgian short film Marlon by the French director Jessica Palud. And the Youth Jury Prize went to M by Sara Forestier.