Back to IndieWire

Women to Watch: Sophie Dulac and the Champs Elysees Film Festival

Women to Watch: Sophie Dulac and the Champs Elysees Film Festival

Once again I have the good fortune of spending some time with Sophie Dulac who is not only President of the Champs Elysees Film Festival but producer currently of three coproductions, one with Germany and one with Armenia and whose past co-productions include “Hannah Arendt” by Margarethe Von Trotta, “Last Days in Jerusalem” by Tawfik Abu-Wael and “The Band’s Visit”.  She is also a distributor of over 70 films since the 2003 founding of Sophie Dulac Distribution with films of Bela Tarr, Frederick Wiseman, Alexandre Sokourov, Jacques Doillon and Theo Angelopoulos as well as new talents like Katel Quillévéré or Eva Ionesco, from festivals such as Cannes, Locarno, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance or Venice among others. 

She also owns key theaters in Paris without whose support films would flounder and die. The company, Screens in Paris (Les Ecrans de Paris), is a circuit of five independent cinemas with 13 screens and 2,300 seats on Paris: Harlequin, the Medici Reflection Panorama El Escorial, the Majestic and Majestic Passy Bastille.  When a film shows in some of these, then its success is nearly guaranteed.  And last, but hardly least, she is Vice President of Publicis, founded by her grandfather, Marcel Blaustein, in 1926, abandoned while he fought in the Resistance and reclaimed after the war and rebuilt into the third largest public relations/ advertising corporation in the world.  Marcel Blaustein was first to use radio as a means of advertising, 

When we spoke two years ago, the Champs Elysees Film Festival was just beginning. 

See Women to Watch.  

Now in its third edition, taking place June 11 – 17, 2014,  it has grown in recognition among professionals and the public worldwide, and it is enhancing the Champs Elysees as a place for the French to attend cinema once again. It is also creating ties between the French and American cineastes in many new ways.  This popular and festive Franco-American film festival taking place on the most prestigious avenue offered an even more eclectic and exciting program this year.  It was presided over by Bertrand Tavernier and Jacqueline Bisset.

Guests of Honor giving master classes include :

– Agnès Varda, present to talk about her films shot in the States

– Keanu Reeves, who presented the documentary “Side by Side” which he produced

– Whit Stillman whose cult film “Metropolitan” was shown in the festival and will shortly be released in France.  He spoke French as did many other American filmmakers during their presentations.

– Mike Figgis spoke about fashion and film following a documentary and several short films he has made this subject

The Feature Film Competition of newly released American Independent films includes “1982” by Tommy Oliver which won U.S. in Progress in 2013 and will soon be released in the U.S., “American Promise”, a documentary by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, “Fort Bliss” by Claudia Myers, “Obvious Child” by Gillian Robespierre, “Rich Hill” a documentary by Andrew Droz Palermo & Tacy Droz Tragos, “See You Next Tuesday” by Drew Tobia, “Summer of Blood” by Onur Tukel, a former U.S. in Progress entry, “Sun Belt Express” by Evan Buxbaum – another former U.S. in Progress entry, “The Magic City” by R. Malcolm Jones.

There is also a short film competition of over 35 French and American shorts, including a selection from film schools (AFI, USC and Columbia in the States and La Fémis, EICAR, ArtFx and Les Gobelins schools in France).

Since the Paris Film Festival lost its funding by the city earlier this year, CEFF is the only Film Festival in the city and the Paris Coproduction Village moved over to it with 12 features.  Run by the same team which runs the Les Arcs Coproduction Village in the French Alps in December,  CEO Pierre Emmanuel Fleurantin, head of industry Vanja Kaludjercic, general manager Guillaume Calop and consultant co-founder Jeremy Zelni, it kept up the high quality of its projects.  More than 130 companies registered and 160 professionals attended. There were 560 one-to-one meetings over the two days. The main focus of the event is to connect international filmmakers with potential French sales agents and producers but alongside representatives of companies such as Bac Films, Other Angle, Les Films d’ici 2 a number of international companies also attended including the UK’s WestEnd Films, Bankside, The Match Factory and The Works.

The festival poster is a cross between movie icon Marilyn Monroe and the icon of French Liberty, Marianne.  Nicknamed “Marilyanne”, it is being featured on T shirts, buttons, post cards and are all for sale.  A new pass for full entry for the week is offered for 50 Euros.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , , , , , ,