Champs-Élysées Film Festival in Paris
12 May 2016
Enjoy an Array of American Feature-Length and Short Films this Summer
7th – 14th June marks the 5th annual Champs-Élysées Film Festival in Paris. This is a week-long event that features dramatic and independent American films in both full-length and short formats. Several of the independent cinemas lining the Champs-Élysées host the various film screenings and, since they’re just a 5-10 minute walk from Amarante Champs-Élysées, there’s never been a better chance to catch something wonderful at the flicks in Paris this June.
Creator Sophie Dulac set up this festival as an exclusive celebration of art-house and indie films that get overlooked by many other, large-scale film festivals around the world. Started in 2012, the festival was an instant hit with film-lovers all over France and the wider world. Over 15,000 people attended the 7-day long event and more than 50 films were premiered – independent film makers were keen to get their creative works showcased at the festival due to its popular location and the guarantee of reaching a wider audience. By 2014, 120,000 people attended, watching over 110 films, and the Champs-Élysées Film Festival found its place in competition with leading film festivals around the world.
Ever-Changing, Competitive Categories
The films fall into several categories – some competitive and some purely thematic. Categories used since the festival’s inception are: American Independent Films, French Galas, American Galas and Oscar Nominated Foreign Language Films. As the festival has gathered even more momentum over the years, other groupings have been added, such as American feature-length films, American Shorts and French Shorts, as well as American and French classic films – celebrating films from decades ago and giving audiences the chance to see them on the big screen, often for the first time. This year, films like ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ will be shown in this category.
As the event has become more prestigious, one-off themed categories have also featured at the festival. A collection of 11 Harvey Weinstein films was shown in 2012 to celebrate the producer’s auspicious career, followed by a seven film celebration of Brad Pitt in 2013 to coincide with his film World War Z premiering. This year, instead of the star being an actor, the festival will be celebrating a location: Chicago. A Patti Smith documentary and film about amateur basketball players trying to make it will show the multi-faceted nature of this famous American city. There are categories involving audience votes – not just a pre-selected judging panel – so make your vote count! Winners will be announced at the Closing Ceremony and tickets to this event are available here.
Other Events Not To Be Missed
As well as cinemas being used for screenings, alternative venues up and down the Champs-Élysées are used to host master classes, awards and film parties. These more exclusive events are ticketed and harder to get into – but not impossible. If the idea of rubbing shoulders with film buffs at prestigious venues such as the Mona Bismarck American Centre, the Pavillion Champs-Élysées or Maison du Danemark sounds like the perfect way to celebrate, pre or post film-viewing, you can get tickets here.
This year’s film selections will transport audiences to all sorts of weird and wonderful places: 17th century puritan America in highly-acclaimed horror film ‘The Witch’; Nazi Germany in 1936 in the Jesse Owens biopic ‘Race’; 18th century England courtship rituals in ‘Love and Friendship’; and modern-day France for Gérard Depardieu comedy ‘Tour de France’. There is going to be something here for every film taste – and plenty to watch for the first time. Maybe you haven’t had much experience of short films or foreign language films before – this is your chance to watch and learn… maybe there’s a new favourite genre out there to discover.
France has always been at the forefront of film, ever since its formation in the 19th century. Supporting this festival, enjoying films and events over the week-long period, is a contribution to helping sustain the industry so talented film-makers can continue to produce the rich tapestry of movies released every year. Sit back, grab your popcorn and enjoy!
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