Richmond, Virginia, to Sample French Films
March 8, 2013

Richmond, Virginia, to Sample French Films

The University of Richmond (UR) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) are again partnering to bring the largest French Film Festival outside of France to Richmond, Virginia.

Attending the largest French Film Festival in the US and hobnobbing with the over 40 French directors and stars who present their new films would seem enough in itself for an intensive, cultural French experience. And yet, the UR and VCU 21st French Film Festival has even more surprises this year to keep its 20,000-plus spectators, who come from throughout the country, in awe and wanting more each year.

Last year, the campus of the University of Richmond hosted an academic and professional first in the history of French film in the US. The synergy of the cutting-edge presentations and discussions during the special three-day symposium on French film, sponsored by UR, VCU, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, had such an impact that renown cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn felt and captured its importance in a new documentary, To Be Twenty in Richmond, which will open the Festival on the evening of March 21.

Carrying forward last year's symposium on creativity, art, technology, film, and humanity, a special master class with the close collaborators of director Bertrand Tavernier will be held in the Urkop auditorium on the UR campus, an event sponsored by the 2013 Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Film. A second master class with Marc Nicolas, General Director of La Fémis, the world's leading film school, will take place the morning of March 22 in the VCU Grace Street Theatre, where Nicolas will explore the cultural, social, industrial, and political factors in both US and French film industries during his lecture "Cinema and the State: France and the US."

All 31 feature and short films of the UR and VCU Festival will be screened in the historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown. All films have English subtitles.

How do you top last year's unannounced surprise world première screening of Georges Méliès' re-discovered and digitally re-mastered The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe complete with bonimenteur and accompaniment by the Mighty Wurlitzer? Well, the Cinémathèque Française and the UR and VCU French Film Festival partner together again to bring the North American premiere of the once lost but now fully restored one-hour cinematic extravaganza Phono-Cinema-Theater, created in 1900 for the Universal Exposition in Paris. See, hear, and experience the interplay of sound, music, and drama, including a special appearance just for the occasion by Sarah Bernhardt , decades before the talkies even begin.