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Film Festival Roundup: Rendez-Vous with French Cinema Announces Lineup, Louisiana Film Prize Announces Sixth Competition and More

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup.

Raw

“Raw”

Focus World

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.

Lineup Announcements

– The Film Society of Lincoln Center and UniFrance announce the complete lineup for the 22nd edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the celebrated annual series showcasing the variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking, March 1 – 12.

The lineup features 23 diverse films, comprised of highlights from international festivals and works by both established favorites and talented newcomers, including François Ozon’s Lubitsch adaptation “Frantz,” set after World War I; Bertrand Bonello’s “Nocturama,” a provocative exploration of a Paris terrorist attack carried out by young activists; Bruno Dumont’s oddball slapstick detective story “Slack Bay,” starring Juliette Binoche; Rebecca Zlotowski’s visually arresting “Planetarium,” with Natalie Portman as a touring psychic who catches the eye of a movie producer in 1930s Paris; and Jean-Stéphane Bron’s “The Paris Opera,” a documentary that peeks behind the scenes of the famed institution.

For the first time, there will be a Film Comment magazine presentation within Rendez-Vous with French Cinema: Julia Ducournau’s cannibal thriller “Raw,” which titillated audiences at Toronto and Cannes

This year’s programming, including the selected films, panels, and events, includes a special focus on the myriad of ways that French culture influences the arts in America, and vice-versa.As previously announced, the Opening Night selection is the North American premiere of Étienne Comar’s “Django,” starring Reda Kateb as the legendary jazz musician and Cécile de France, and the Closing Night selection is the U.S. premiere of Jérôme Salle’s “The Odyssey,” with Lambert Wilson as explorer Jacques Cousteau and co-starring Audrey Tautou and Pierre Niney.

“Slack Bay”

Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 16, with early access for Film Society members beginning Tuesday, February 14. Tickets are $16; $12 for seniors (62+); and $10 for students and members; Opening Night tickets are $25; $20 for members, seniors, and students. Learn more at the Film Society’s official website.

– The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival will run February 17 – 19 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, aimed to helping young audiences delve into current and relatable topics through a slate of international films spanning all genres, and participate in a variety of engaging film-related events. The festival is steered by the TIFF Next Wave Committee, a voluntary advisory team made up of 12 youth dedicated to bringing quality film programming and film-related events to young film lovers across the city.

This year’s film highlights include Golden Globe–nominated “Divines” (2016) from debut director Houda Benyamina, a suspenseful, kinetic film about a pair of young women determined to make their own way in a world that seems set against them; Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s “As You Are” (2016), the retelling of a friendship between three teenagers through a construction of different memories; and “Before I Fall” (2017), from indie darling Ry Russo-Young, which is a filmic journey that follows a young woman discovering the best version of herself as she learns to accept the finality of death.

Special guests will be announced in the coming weeks at the festival’s official website.

– The Gold Coast International Film Festival (GCIFF) will kick off the fourth year of the Elliman Film Series at the Soundview Cinemas (7 Soundview Marketplace, Port Washington) next week. Sponsored by Douglas Elliman, the series is part of the overall commitment the company has to the arts and the historical significance of the Gold Coast community.

The Elliman Film Series, consistently offers some of the most culturally, historically, aesthetically and artistically important films to the Long Island and Queens communities. This trend will continue on Tuesday, February 7 with a preview screening of “Year By the Sea” featuring a Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony, and Pulitzer Prize winning team including Karen Allen and Celie Imrie. A Q&A with the film’s writer/director/composer Alexander Janko will follow the screening.

The Series’ second offering, on Tuesday, March 7, is “The Man Who Saved the World,” a frighteningly relevant docu-drama featuring appearances by Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner and others. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s executive producers.

“Nocturama”

Labs and Learning Events

– The Athena Film Festival (AFF) today announced the participants for the inaugural Athena IRIS Screenwriting Lab whose goal is to develop feature-length narrative scripts with bold and courageous female characters. Participants include Briana Belser, Oonagh Kearney, Erin Sanger and Rashmi Singh.

Guiding the screenwriters through the lab are an illustrious group of mentors including: Hilary Brougher, film professor at Columbia University and screenwriter/director of The Sticky Fingers of Time and Stephanie Daley; Shinho Lee, Arts Professor at NYU and Screenwriter of The Chaser and My Mighty Princess; Afia Nathaniel, Lecturer at Princeton University and Screenwriter/Producer/Director of Dukhtar; and Susanna Styron, filmmaker of Shadrach and 9/12: From Chaos to Community.

The Athena Film Festival, an annual celebration of women and leadership co-founded by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood, returns for its seventh year February 9 – 12.

Grants and Awards

– The Rainey family, featured in the new film “Quest,” have been selected as 2017’s True Life Fund recipients. The fund, True/False’s yearly philanthropic initiative, serves as a tangible way of thanking documentary subjects.

The Raineys’ home studio acts as a creative space and community refuge in North Philadelphia. Christopher “Quest” Rainey hosts Friday night recording sessions and mentors artists in the community. His wife, Christine’a, a.k.a. “Ma Quest,” works at a local homeless shelter. “Quest” was shot by director Jon Olshefski over the course of a decade, bookended by the elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. We witness the Raineys raise their children, P.J. and William, while working to transform their community.

“Quest”

The Rainey family and Olshefski will attend all of the screenings at True/False. Before the fest, Olshefski will visit all of Columbia’s four public high schools. At each school, students will watch clips of the film and engage in discussion with the director. The True/False Film Fest will take place March 2 – 5 in downtown Columbia, Missouri.

Submissions and Calls for Entry

– Executive Director Gregory Kallenberg has announced the sixth year of the Louisiana Film Prize filmmaking competition. The Film Prize is once again offering up a $50,000 cash prize, the world’s largest cash prize for a short film. This year’s competition will continue to offer distribution for the Top 5 films on iTunes through a partnership with Shorts International, and showings at partnering film festivals. Along with this, new cash prizes for VFX and a celluloid film award was added.

“If you’re a filmmaker or ever dreamed of making a film, then the Film Prize is on your bucket list,” said Kallenberg. “We have become the beacon to indie filmmakers everywhere, and the Film Prize is one of the ultimate awards for their efforts.”

The contest and festival (www.LAFilmPrize.com), held each year in Shreveport, LA, invites filmmakers from all over the world to create and present a short film under one condition – it must be shot in northwest Louisiana. Filmmakers can shoot their films starting now. Visit www.lafilmprize.com to learn more information about the Louisiana Film Prize contest and festival. The deadline for submissions is July 11.

Louisiana Film Prize

– The 7th annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) taking place November 8 – 12, is now accepting film submissions. NVFF is a five-day immersive experience celebrating the best new independent films of the year, accompanied by Napa Valley’s world-class food, wine and hospitality. NVFF continues to establish a strong sense of community dedicated to supporting the art of visual storytelling.

NVFF welcomes submissions of any genre. Programmers will select approximately 100 new independent films to be screened alongside awards season contending films. Submission categories include narrative features and shorts, documentary features and shorts, and short features (films between 20 and 50 minutes). Organizers are looking for films that will best entertain, inspire, educate and intrigue audiences. All of the films programmed from submissions are eligible for Audience Awards.

Filmmakers can submit projects through FilmFreeway or Withoutabox. For early submissions with discounted entry fees, the Early Bird Deadline is March 3. Additionally, the final opportunity to submit a film for consideration is marked by NVFF’s Extended Deadline, June 30. Visit their official website for full film submission details.

Jury Announcements

– Maggie Gyllenhaal and Diego Luna have joined the international jury of the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, where they will judge the competition films alongside jury president Paul Verhoeven, German actress Julia Jentsch, Chinese director and writer Wang Quan’an, Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha and artist Olafur Eliasson, who hails from Iceland.

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