French Film Festival set for March 30th – April 2nd at The Byrd Theatre

French Film Festival set for March 30th – April 2nd at The Byrd Theatre

The 25th anniversary of the festival will be one for the books–er, the screens.

From French Film Festival organizers:

The year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the French Film Festival which will celebrate with flair the fact that this annually awaited internationally renowned French cultural event has brought since its beginning more than 700 films and over 850 actors, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers and artist-technicians from France to Richmond.

The 25th Festival will have many special screenings and live performance events in the historic Byrd Theatre and will kick-off the festivities with a free Symposium on the campus of the University of Richmond, French Film: Arts, Science & Technology at Work for Humanity II (March 27 – March 29, 2017). These in-depth discussions with filmmakers, cinema technology specialists and film music composers on the most recent advancements in filmmaking technologies as well as on French film as an art form exploring important investigations into global and social concerns are guaranteed to be rich and enlightening for cinema lovers and Festival goers.

Film and music will have a special focus this year. Renowned cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn will preside over a delegation of more than 60 special guests coming to Richmond, including several Oscar, Golden Globe, César and Molière award winners notably French actor/director/producer Jacques Perrin, music composer Bruno Coulais, actor Philippe Torreton and American animation director Henry Selick.

Film projections in The Byrd Theatre will all be controlled by the same film industry professionals responsible for all the Cannes International Film Festival. In addition to world and North American premiere screenings presented by their directors and actors, the four-day intensive weekend will host three original cinema-related musical events. The founding member of the rock group The Police, the French Corsican Henry Padovani, who was just recently on stage with Sting for the re-opening of the Bataclan in Paris, will perform a special acoustical guitar set following the screening of his film Rock’n’ Roll …of Corse!

In partnership with the Cinémathèque Française, the Festival is importing rare glass slides and magic lanterns for the first and only performance in the Americas of the show Magic Lanterns: Resuscitation of a Lost 17th Century Visual Art. What If Cinema Has Existed Since 1659? by Laurent Mannoni & Laure Parchomenko accompanied by the Harpist Liénor Mancip and actor Nathan Willcocks. Discover the magic of moving images before the birth of cinema!

This is truly a rare and “once-in-a-lifetime” occasion not to be missed. Imagine, you will discover moving images as your great grandparents experienced them and then ask yourself, “Why do today’s HD projections and flat-screen televisions not have the same image quality and resolution as Magic Lanterns did centuries ago?”

A special Festival closing-event on the Sunday of the Festival will be the North American premiere of the “must-see” live and on-stage performance of Mec! with award-winning actor Philippe Torreton and percussionist Edward Perraud who convey with emotion Allain Leprest’s poetic texts and lyrics. Furthermore, French director Stéphanie Gillard will screen her film The Ride in the presence of acclaimed Native American directors and producers Chris Eyre and Georgina Lightning with actor/stuntman George Aguilar. French director Gérard Krawczyk is creating an original interactive Photo-Exhibit, Write Your Own Film, accompanied by music created specifically for our Festival and Symposium by composers Armand Amar, Maïdi Roth and Pierre Oberkampf.

Last year the Festival counted more than 22,000 admissions through the doors of the Byrd Theatre with spectators coming from 42 of the 50 states in the US.

The three-day Symposium is a free event open to the public and simultaneous interpretation with headsets will be provided to ensure that everyone can participate.

All the details of the full program are now available online.



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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.