SPRING 2017 IN LOUISIANA: Festival Season Pays Tribute to Francophonie [fr]
Each spring, festivals dominate the social calendar in Louisiana. From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, heading north to Shreveport and passing by Lake Charles on the way, French cinema and music were represented all over the state.
To get things started, the department of foreign languages at McNeese University in Lake Charles screened a French film every week in March.
In partnership with the Embassy Cultural Services and the Consulate General of France in Louisiana, the "Tournées Film Festival" program brought together a large francophile crowd in the Farrar campus auditorium. To promote the festival, regional schools participated in a poster contest to encourage young people to participate and get involved.
The Consul and the Vice-Consul were able to attend and meet members of the French and francophile community, where the Consul General presented the film "Saint-Laurent".
From March 7 -17, the fourth annual Festinema junior took place around the world. As the only francophone film festivals for 4-18 year-olds in the United States, the festival seeks to promote the French language and francophone cultures though cinema.
Organized by a network of Alliances Françaises in roughly 15 cities in the US, The Alliance Française of New Orleans presented 4 films (Neige et les Arbres Magiques, Ernest et Célestine, Adama, and Welcome) at the Prytania Theater.
The festival also included presentations, teaching-training sessions, and more. Each session was very well attended and allowed the Alliance Française to further develop its educational activates in the classroom.
Overall in New Orleans, there were 8 screening, 8 participating schools (of which 4 are French immersion schools), and 1697 participants including 60 teachers.
This festival was coordinated by the Alliance Française of Denver, with the support of l’Institut Français, TV5 Monde, the Alliance Française Foundation, the general delegation of Alliances Française in the United States, the Face Foundation, the International Organization of Francophonie, and the French Embassy.
From April 20-23, the Louisiana International Film Festival presented a selection of films and documentaries.
For the fifth time running, the festival offered over 50 Louisianian, national, and international films. The program also included multiple film-themed events such as a meet-and-greet with members of the film industry, the Dan Ireland Award ceremony (attended by Renée Zellweger), and a gala.
In the words of festival director Chesley Heymsfield, "The festival is about more than seeing movies. It’s also gives an opportunity to meet professionals in the film industry and introduce those who are interested in working in this field, to discover new technologies and projects, and to expand horizons".
The US premier of "NOLA CIRCUS", by French director Luc Annest, was particularly successful. Filmed in New Orleans, actors from the film as well as Pelicans French basketball player Alexis Ajenca (who sponsored the film), attended the screening.
Francophone films from this year’s program: L’Economie du Couple (Belgique); Cézanne and I (France); Frantz (France/Allemagne); L’Opéra (France); Nola Circus (Etats-Unis/France).
From April 21-27, the 20th New Orleans French Film Festival took place at the Prytania Theater in collaboration with multiple local partners.
In the past, this festival took place in summer to coincide with the Bastille Day festivities of July 14 organized throughout the city. This year, festival organizers the New Orleans Film Society and the Consulat General de France decided to push the festival up to spring to broaden its reach and accommodate French film professionals already on tour in the United States. With the assistance of Unifrance, we were able to welcome French director Antoine Desrozières who presented his short film "Haramiste", as well as offer various French and film-themes activities (French classes, a conference on Jean-Pierre Léaud, and live music preceding certain screenings).
Next year, we hope to present the festival during the "Month of Francophonie" (March) and offer more screenings in various locations around New Orleans.
2017 Festival Program : Frantz; My Life as a Zucchini; Ma Loute; Personal Shopper; Special Jacques Demy: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Demoiselles of Rochefort; Cézanne and I; The Death of Louis XIV; Juste la Fin du Monde; L’Opéra; Swagger; L’avenir; La fille Inconnue; Short films: Haramiste, Minh Tâm, Un Ciel Bleu Presque Parfait.
From April 26-30, the 31st Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette had 15 countries represented: Canada, China, Cambodia, India, Haïti, lreland, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Israel, Belguim, Ukraine, Chili, Cuba, and Italy).
France was represented by CQMD (Ceux Qui Marchent Debout), who returned for their fifth time to Louisiana with a new album and multiple shows in New Orleans, the dynamic folk-blues féminin trio Sirius Plan, and a franco-americanan groupe well known on the American festival circuit, Gingkoa, who also had time to film for their next video in New Orleans.
On the main stage, Zachary Richard was recognized as a "Commandeur" of the Order of Arts and Letters by our Consul General, after his concert with "Les Etoiles de l’immersion". In front of 2000 spectators, Mr. Richard proved once again that he is a true ambassador of Francophonie, tirelessly defending the value of the French language.
This free festival is the place in the Southern United States to discover international artists, and confirm that Louisiana is the hub of francophone culture.