The French Film Festival, sponsored by the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University, celebrates its 25th anniversary March 27 through April 2. This festival is the largest showcase of French film and culture in the United States. New this year, the festival will include live on-stage performances, exclusive to North America.

In honor of the 25th anniversary, at least 70 international directors, actors, cinematographers and special guests will visit Richmond to discuss their films. It will be the largest delegation of distinguished guests in the festival’s history. Renowned cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn will preside over the international guests, including several Oscar, Golden Globe, César and Molière award winners, most notably French actor, director and producer Jacques Perrin, music composer Bruno Coulais, actor Philippe Torreton and American animation director Henry Selick.

Additionally, a three-day symposium that is free and open to the public will take place on the University of Richmond campus March 27 through March 29. Each day will focus on a different theme, including visual authorship and sovereignty, science and technology, and the interplay of music and screenwriting.

“We want to focus this year on authenticity and visual sovereignty,” UR professor and festival co-founder Françoise Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said. “How are directors authors of stories? How does the voice of the author coincide with and respect voices of the subjects? How do music composers interact with filmmakers in the cinematic creative process? We wanted to unearth all of that to students, the public, and all people who come to the symposium.”

The festival was organized in 1993 by Ravaux-Kirkpatrick, a professor of French and film studies at UR, and Peter Kirkpatrick, a professor of French civilization, culture and film studies at VCU. It was created to gauge interest in the latest French film productions. It has included several world premieres and has grown to include 500,000 visitors and participants from across the U.S. and France since its inception.

Visit the festival’s site for the complete 2017 French Film Festival and Symposium schedules and synopsis of each film. 

About the symposium:
French Film: Arts, Science & Technology at Work for Humanity
The symposium is free and open to the public. For the first time, the events will have an interactive component to fully engage the visitor in the creative process. Wireless headsets will be available to provide simultaneous English/French interpretation to allow all audience members to fully participate.

Day 1: Citizen Camera at Work for Humanity: Auteur Filmmaking and Visual Sovereignty
10 a.m.–5:15 p.m., Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium

Day 2: Science & Technology: Accompanying and Creating New Visual and Cinematic Experiences
10 a.m.–5 p.m., Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium

Day 3: Interplay of Music on Screenwriting, Cinematography and Film Editing
9 a.m.–5 p.m., Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium

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Notable Events

Notable events:

  • March 27: Interactive exhibition on campus for the first time. Visitors can create their own script and submit it to a panel of judges for a prize from the highest grossing film director in France.
  • March 31: Live concert by the founder of The Police, Henry Padovani, Rock ‘n’ Roll…of Corse.
  • April 1: Live show with historic magic lanterns that have never before left France, imported from the Cinémathèque Française.
  • April 2: Live performance with actor Philippe Torreton, winner of the French equivalent of an Oscar and Tony award, and percussionist Edward Perraud, winner of the German equivalent of a Grammy award.
Professor of French and Film Studies, Co-Director, Annual UR/VCU French Film Festival
Contemporary French literature and culture
French film