The French Film Festival returns with its 21st edition to present the best of contemporary French film and to honour the excellence of Philippine cinema.
For 21 years, the French Film Festival in the Philippines has been offering an alternative venue for Filipinos to discover and appreciate a different kind of cinema, culture and language. While a loyal audience of cineastes and Francophiles has been following the festival annually, more and more casual moviegoers have been attending the French Film Festival, with over 15,000 recorded viewers in Manila and Cebu last year.
This year’s edition presents a line-up of 17 French films, released between 2014 and 2016, to be publicly screened in Manila from June 8 to 14 at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas and the Bonifacio High Street Cinemas. During Independence Day on June 12, the festival renews its tradition of putting the spotlight on Filipino films through the screening of two local films that have been featured at international film festivals in France: Lawrence Fajardo’s Imbisibol and Carl Joseph Papa’s animated film, Manang Biring.
Similar to last year, tickets for both cinemas are priced at P100 to cover the operational costs of the theaters and may be purchased at the cinema lobby or online through www.sureseats.com.
The Cinematheque Centre Manila of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) will also screen a selection of French films throughout the week.
A greater appreciation for French cinema comes with a better understanding of the French language. Because of this, the Alliance Française de Manille will be offering a 10% discount for French language classes for every viewer of the French Film Festival at the Greenbelt 3 or Bonifacio High Street cinemas.
From there, the festival travels to Ayala Center Cebu and Abreeza Mall in Davao at the end of the month.
The French Film Festival celebrates Philippine excellence in Cannes
To formally open the French Film Festival in Manila, the red carpet will be rolled out on June 8 in honour of the cast and crew of Ma’Rosa, a film by director Brillante Mendoza which was selected in the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Competition.
French Ambassador Thierry Mathou said that “the Philippines has made its mark in Cannes” through the active presence of Filipinos in the prestigious festival, particularly with the screening of Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa in the Official Competition and Raymund Gutierrez’ Imago in the short film category.
He added that “by giving the Best Performance by an Actress Award to Jaclyn Jose for her role in Ma’Rosa, the jury showed the wealth of film creation in the Philippines.”
The glamour and prestige inspired by the Cannes Film Festival are brought to Manila’s red carpet event at Central Square by the SSI Group, Inc.’s collection of top French brands headlined by Lacoste.
The Peugeot Red Carpet Ride completes the experience as Peugeot Philippines provides a fleet to transport VIPs to Central Square.
A special screening of French director Maïwenn’s film, Mon Roi, will end the evening. For her role in the film, French actress Emmanuelle Bercot was given the Best Actress Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
French support for Philippine film continues
France, through its embassy in Manila, has remained supportive in efforts to preserve Philippine film heritage and assist up-and-coming local filmmakers in pursuing their projects and receiving training and experience abroad.
“In our two countries, culture plays a key role in the affirmation of national identity, and this is particularly true in the Philippines where cinema is a major part of society,” according to Ambassador Mathou.
“Despite the fact that cinema was popularized by Hollywood under the American period, French cinema remains the reference for independent movies. This gives us a unique priority to support film creation in the Philippines,” he added.
In the absence of a co-production agreement between France and the Philippines, Filipino filmmakers may still benefit from French support through the Aide aux cinémas du monde (World Cinema Fund). Last year, Pepe Diokno, with his film Above the Clouds, was the first Filipino recipient of this fund.
This year, director Carlo Manatad and producer Armi Rae Cacanindin represented Asian cinema in Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde, a series of film production workshops organized by the French National Center for Cinema and Animation (CNC) and the Institut Français. Manatad and Cacanindin are currently working on their film A Wrong Season, which was inspired by the events of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban.
For the screening schedule, visit www.frenchfilmfest.com. Share your French Film Festival story on social media using the hashtag #FrenchFilmFest21.
Film synopses, reviews, and the screening schedule are also easily available on your smartphone by downloading the French Film Festival app powered by ThinkBIT on Apple Store and Google Play.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FrenchEmbassyManila.