(AFP) – After a year of absence linked to the pandemic, the Colcoa festival in Los Angeles, the most important festival devoted to French film in the world, is back to celebrate its 25th anniversary, in the flesh and at full capacity .
Colcoa’s vocation is to show Hollywood the best of French productions. And it is with “Ouistreham”, unveiled at Cannes this summer but which will not be released in France and the United States until next year, that the organizers have chosen to open this new edition (from November 1 to 7).
Third feature film by writer and director Emmanuel Carrère, “Ouistreham”, adapted from a book by Florence Aubenas, paints a moving portrait of marginalized and downgraded women, with Juliette Binoche in the spotlight and surrounded by non-professional actresses including some play their own role.
In total, Colcoa offers 55 French films and television series, often screened for the first time in North America.
And despite the pandemic which has put a stop to productions around the world, the festival has not lacked candidates this year.
“Contrary to what one might have thought after all these months of confinement, this very diverse and high-level program reflects the incredible number of films that have been produced in France over the past two years”, rejoices François Truffart, the executive producer and artistic director of the festival. “We had to make difficult choices,” he emphasizes.
Colcoa (for “City of Lights, City of Angels”, respective nicknames of Paris and Los Angeles), was created 25 years ago thanks to the royalty on private copying established in France.
Sacem, the body managing French copyright, signed an agreement in March 1996 with the two American professional guilds representing audiovisual creators (DGA for producers, WGA for screenwriters) joined by the Association des Grands Hollywood studios to create a cultural fund intended to promote cinema, funded in part by this royalty.
This is how the Franco-American Cultural Fund was born, organizer of Colcoa and which also finances the restoration of many films.
– Pierre Niney and Charlotte Gainsbourg –
Paradoxically, the past two years have been good for French works. “In a world that had to take shelter for a year because of the pandemic, French stories (+ Lupine +, + Ten percent +) went around the world while people were isolated at home”, notes Anouchka van Riel, deputy director of Colcoa.
Thanks to strict sanitary measures, the festival, hosted in the DGA cinema in Hollywood, will be able to operate at full capacity, the organizers insist.
Colcoa attracts more than 20,000 spectators each year and screenings will be organized again this year for some 3,000 high school students in Southern California to “build the next generation of spectators for French cinema”.
On the program this year, the film “Black Box”, a thriller about an investigator, played by Pierre Niney, who seeks to solve the mystery on the crash of a Dubai-Paris flight that killed 300 people in the Alps; “Le bal des folles” by Mélanie Laurent; or “Titane” by Julia Ducournau, in the running to represent France at the Oscars next year.
Colcoa will also unveil to the Californian public the documentary “Jane by Charlotte”, written and directed by Charlotte Gainsbourg who films her mother Jane Birkin in an unprecedented exchange spanning several years.
Side series, in addition to successes like “Paris Police 1900” and “The Opera”, the festival highlights “On The Verge”, a comedy written, directed and played by Julie Delpy which takes place in a Los Angeles of before Covid-19 where four friends are struggling in the midst of an existential crisis.
The series is broadcast in France by Canal + and on Netflix in the rest of the world.