The 16th Annual City of Lights, City of Angels (COL•COA) film festival will run April 16-23 in Los Angeles . Sponsored by The Franco-American Cultural Fund (FACF), the festival will present 34 features and 21 shorts, including 10 North American and U.S. Premieres, and 14 West Coast Premieres. “The historic triumph of The Artist (ISA:Wild Bunch) reflects a remarkable year for French cinema and we are glad to introduce a broad spectrum of new films to Hollywood that reveal both the quality and diversity of recent French productions,” stated François Truffart, COL•COA Executive Director and Artistic Director.
COL•COA will open with the North American Premiere of My Way (CloClo) (ISA:LGM), a biopic about French pop star icon Claude François, directed by Florent-Emilio Siri, co-written by Siri and Julien Rappeneau and starring Jérémie Renier. Recently released in France , My Way is already a critical and commercial success.
Several U.S. distributors will present their films at COL•COA before their U.S. release: Cinema Guild – Step up to the Plate (ISA:Jour2Fete); The Cohen Media Group – Farewell My Queen (ISA:Elle Driver): Kino Lorber –The Well Digger’s Daughter (ISA:Pathe); MPI Media – Americano (ISA:Bac Films); Sundance Selects – Goodbye First Love! (ISA:Films Distribution) and Polisse (ISA:Wild Bunch); Strand Releasing – 17 Girls (ISA:Films Distribution); The Weinstein Company – The Intouchables (ISA:Gaumont), A Gang Story (ISA:Gaumont) and War of the Buttons (ISA:Wild Bunch); and Screen Media for A Happy Event (ISA:Gaumont) from co-writer-director Remi Bezançon, also in competition at COL·COA for his animated feature Zarafa (ISA:Pathe).
Closing film on Sunday, April 22nd will be a special presentation, in association with The Weinstein Company, of the already third most successful French box office success: The Intouchables (ISA:Gaumont) Starring François Cluzet and César winner for Best Actor Omar Sy, this hit comedy marks the fourth film from writer-directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano presented at COL•COA Cannes Jury Special Prize winner and 13 César-nominated drama, Polisse (ISA:Wild Bunch) co-written and directed by Maïwenn, will be presented at COL•COA, one day after its U.S. Premiere at Tribeca. Berlin International Film Festival opening film, Farewell My Queen (ISA:Elle Driver) co-written and directed by COL·COA 2011 Critics Award-winner Benoit Jacquot, will have a special presentation at COL·COA before opening the San Francisco International Film Festival. Other highlights include César multi-nominated and critically acclaimed film, The Minister (ISA:Doc & Film Interntional), written and directed by Pierre Schoeller; the 3D presentation in English of A Monster in Paris (ISA:EuropaCorp), an animated feature co-written and directed by Bibo Bergeron, starring Sean Lennon and Vanessa Paradis, and produced by Luc Besson; the anticipated thriller, 38 Witnesses (ISA:Films Distrubution), written and directed by Lucas Belvaux; as well as The Art of Love (ISA:Kinology), the new comedy from writer-director Emmanuel Mouret.
Several French high-profile titles will also be introduced in the U.S, such as Early One Morning, (ISA:Les Films Du Losange) written and directed by Jean-Marc Moutout; Cesar winner for Best Documentary Leadersheep (ISA:MK2 S.A.) by writer-director Christian Rouaud Silence of Joan, from writer-director Philippe Ramos; as well as the North American Premiere of Another Woman’s Life (ISA:Kinology), co-written and directed by Sylvie Testud and starring Juliette Binoche.
The program will feature several directorial debut films, including the North American Premieres of Love Lasts Three Years (ISA:Eurocorp), co-written and directed by novelist Frédéric Beigbeder; The Adopted (ISA:Studio Canal), co-written and directed by actress and freshman filmmaker Mélanie Laurent; Freeway (ISA:Sesame), co-written and directed by Christopher Sahr; the West Coast Premiere of Louise Wimmer (ISA:Films Distribution), written and directed by Cyril Mennegun; and Americano (ISA:Bac Films), starring Salma Hayek and co-starring writer-director Mathieu Demy, the son of Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy.
Five popular series will return in 2012, COL•COA docs will include Michel Petrucciani (ISA:Wild Bunch) written and directed by Michael Radford. After 10 will highlight Best Adaptation César winner Guilty (ISA:Films Distribution), co-written and directed by Vincent Garenq. COL•COA Classics will pay tribute to actor Yves Montand with a rare presentation of the restored Call me Savage from co-writer-director Jean-Paul Rappeneau. For this year’s Carte Blanche program, writer-director Alexander Payne selected Hotel du Nord directed by Marcel Carné, screenplay by Jean Aurenche and Henri Jeanson. The Film Noir series will include the West Coast Premiere of Paris by Night (ISA:TF1), co-written and directed by Philippe Lefebvre. The Focus on a Filmmaker, this year honoring actress writer-director Julie Delpy, will take place on Thursday, April 19th and will include her new film, Le SkyLab (ISA:Films Distribution).
COL•COA Educational Program will offer four High School Screenings, one student screening and one Master Class in association with ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America). The program will host 3,500 students from over 70 high schools, colleges and universities in California .
To celebrate the announcement and recipients of the 2012 COL•COA Awards, the festival will close on Monday, April 23rd with the screening of two winning features and two winning shorts.
City of Lights, City of Angels is funded by the FACF, a unique partnership of the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music and the Writers Guild of America, West with the vital support of L’ARP (France’s Association of Authors, Directors and Producers), the Los Angeles Film and TV Office of the French Embassy, and Unifrance.
All screenings are in French with English subtitles or, in the case of the family-oriented animated films, dubbed in English. Tickets are available for advance purchase online at www.colcoa.org (cash or checks only). Please visit www.colcoa.org for box office hours. Ticket prices are $10 for adults; $7 tickets for seniors (62+), disabled, and members of American Cinematheque, ASC, ICG, Film Independent, LACMA, SAG or Women in Film; $3 for students and under 21. Tickets are complimentary for DGA and WGAW guild members. The Happy Hour Talks are free on a first come, first served basis.
City of Lights, City of Angels (COL•COA) was created in 1996 by The Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique collaborative effort of the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association, the Writers Guild of America West, and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM). COL•COA is also supported by l’Association des Auteurs-Réalisateurs-Producteurs (ARP), the Film and TV Office of the French Embassy in Los Angeles and UNIFRANCE.
COL•COA is committed to promoting new French films in the U.S. and to showcasing the vitality and the diversity of French cinema in Hollywood: comedies and dramas, box office hits in France and specialty films, first features and films from established writer-directors, art house movies as well as mainstream films.
In 15 years, 231 new feature films and 140 new shorts have been selected. COL•COA has constantly developed to become a showcase of at least 50 films, with a capacity of 20,000 in 2011 and an occupancy rate of 88%.
Its exclusive program has made of COL•COA an anticipated date in the industry calendar and one of the largest French film festivals in the world. Scheduled a few weeks after the Academy Awards® and one month before the Cannes Film Festival, COL•COA has become a prestigious event in Los Angeles.
Since 2004, the selection is exclusively composed of premieres. Several high-profile features are presented at COL•COA for the first time in North America or in the U.S. COL•COA is also known for presenting successful films a year before their commercial release in the U.S., raising the event’s profile among U.S. distributors who now use the event as a platform to launch and promote their film in Hollywood.
COL•COA has substantial representation by leading industry professionals, including distributors, exhibitors, directors, writers, producers, Academy members, agents, press members or public filmgoers, as part and parcel to the festival is the cultural exchange involved, as well as the introduction of films that may not have been available to the industry. COL•COA has developed partnerships with organizations like IFTA, The Cannes Film Market, Film Independent, Women in Film, The American Cinematheque, SAG, and since 2008, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. COL•COA “A WEEK OF FRENCH FILM PREMIERES IN HOLLYWOOD”
COL•COA is more than a film industry event. Many screenings are reserved early due to the festival’s reputation and increased visibility.In 2008, an educational program was also launched to promote foreign films among young American audiences in association with E.L.M.A (European Languages & Movies in America). Close to 7,500 high school students and 70 high schools in Los Angeles County have participated in the program since 2008. In 2010, a master class was introduced for colleges, film schools and universities.
More than 100 French writers, directors and producers have presented their film(s) at COL•COA. Among them are Costa-Gavras, Alain Corneau, Claire Denis, Michel Hazanavicius, Claude Lelouch, Claude Miller, Bertrand Tavernier, Olivier Assayas, Laurent Cantet, Arnaud Desplechin, Anne Fontaine, Bertrand Blier and Mathieu Kassovitz.
Whereas COL•COA is not a celebrity-driven event, many artists attend as it is a showcase for their work, a chance to mingle with other artists in a professional, yet relaxed and cordial environment, the true basis of cultural exchange. Among past COL•COA guests are actors and actresses Rosanna Arquette, Nathalie Baye, Bérénice Bejo, Marion Cotillard, Julie Delpy, Jimmy Jean Louis, Helen Mirren, Gena Rowlands, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron and Lambert Wilson, as well as prominent American writers and directors: Wes Craven, Taylor Hackford, John Landis, Michael Mann and Alexander Payne.