After returning home from a semester in Paris, Abby Kloppenburg, ’13, was missing the culture and art of France. Luckily, the French Film Festival is giving her a chance to continue her emersion experience right here in Richmond.

The French Film Festival was first introduced by Françoise Ravaux-Kirkpatrick and Peter Kirkpatrick, both professors of French and film studies at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively. Now in its 20th year, the festival features 12 full-length films and 12 short films, all screened at the Byrd Theater from March 29 to April 1.

In her 400-level French class, French Film, Kloppenburg and her classmates are assisting Ravaux-Kirkpatrick and the festival staff as they promote and prepare for the annual event. It’s a chance for the French and journalism major to combine her interest in public relations and her love of French culture.

One of the students’ first major undertakings was to pre-screen all of the festival submissions and offer their feedback on which films should make the cut. “It was interesting to watch them,” Kloppenburg says. “They were all on different topics, and a good amount have a political motivation. You can learn about French culture just watching the movie.”

Kloppenburg is excited about the final slate of films selected and hopes Richmond residents will take advantage Carytown’s Francophone takeover. “I don’t think people realize you don’t have to speak French to go to the festival,” she says. “There are English subtitles, but it’s still easy to understand the movie. You can tell the acting is very good and the plot is interesting.”

While the films may have English subtitles, it wouldn’t be a French class if the students didn’t have a chance to practice their language skills. The class offered their translation talents to craft festival materials. “You don’t translate word for word,” she says. “You have to think how it would sound in English.”

Class members are eager to see their hard work come to fruition, and Kloppenburg is looking forward to revisiting La Ville-Lumière, the City of Light — even if it’s just on screen.

“Some of the films take place in Paris,” she says. “There was one film, called I Could Be Your Grandmother, about a guy helps homeless people rewrite their signs. It was a short film, but it was just nice to see Paris again.”