Deauville American Film Festival Turns Up the Star Power for 38th Edition

3:00 AM PST 07/25/2012 by Rebecca Leffler
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Jeremy Renner, left, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz

"The Bourne Legacy" stars Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz are among those expected to attend the French festival, which will also premiere Kirsten Dunst's "Bachelorette."

The Deauville American Film Festival will roll out its red, white and blue carpets for a very star-spangled ode to U.S. cinema in its 38th year. Organizers unveiled this year’s lineup at a press conference in the Normandy town Wednesday.

While the quiet seaside town may have been lacking in star power in recent years, organizers are pulling out all stops to attract major Hollywood talent to its shores for this year’s event.

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Hollywood royalty including Paula Wagner, Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz are among the talents expected to make appearances along with actress and Princess Clotilde Courau and other A-list Gallic talents like jury president Sandrine Bonnairedirectors Christophe Honore, Florent Emilio Siri and Joann Sfar.

The fest will kick off with a roll in the Mud for Jeff Nichols’ Festival de Cannes competition title. Nichols’ Take Shelter won the jury’s top grand prize at last year’s fest.

Other notable premieres include Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette starring Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and James Marsden; Olivier Megaton’s Taken 2 starring Liam Neeson; Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy complete with appearances from the film’s director and castmembers Weisz, Renner and Norton; Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Deadfall with Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde and Sissy Spacek; William Friedkin’s Killer Joe starring Mud star Matthew McConaughey alongside Emile Hirsch and Gina Gershon; John Hillcoat’s Cannes Competition title Lawless; Jonathan Dayton and Valerie FarisRuby Sparks; Oliver Stone’s Savages; Pascal Laugier’s The Tall Man; Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen; and Seth MacFarlane’s recent U.S. release Ted plus a kids screening in French of Peggy HolmesSecret of the Wings.

Benh Zeitlin’s Sundance and Cannes favorite Beasts of the Southern Wild will head to Northern France for a screening in Competition. The Competition will also feature Matt Ruskin’s Booster, Marshall Lewy’s California Solo, Craig Zobel’s Compliance, Rebecca ThomasElectrik Children, So Yong Kim’s For Ellen, Brian M. Cassidy & Melanie Shatzky’s Francine, Adam Leon’s Gimme The Loot,Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s SisterBobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America, Jake Schreier’s Robot and Frank, James Ponsoldt’s Smashed, Lucy Mulloy's Una Noche and Michel Gondry’s The We & the I.

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The films will compete for the Grand Prize, a Jury Prize, the Cartier Revelation Prize and International Critics Award. Bonnaire will preside over the feature films jury alongside Sami Bouajila, Courau, dancer-director-choreographer Philippe Decoufle, actresses Anais Demoustier and Alice Taglioni and directors Honore, Sfar and Siri.

Author, TV star and director Frederic Beigbeder will be surrounded by rising starlets Melanie Bernier, Ana Girardot and The Well-Digger’s Daughter star Astrid Berges-Frisbey to pick the winners of the Cartier Revelation prize.

Documentary sidebar Uncle Sam’s Docs also features several anticipated nonfiction titles, including Gregg Barson’s Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, Rodney Ascher’s Room 237, Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles and Bart Layton’s The Imposter.

The “New Hollywood” prize for an up-and-coming talent, initiated last year, will go to Paul Dano, who stars in two festival titles this year: For Ellen and Ruby Sparks.

Fashion designer and filmmaker Agnes B will be given a “Carte Blanche” to share seven of her favorite American films with audiences that include Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances, Martin Scorsese’s The Big Shave and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

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The popular vacation town will be getting serious this year with more of a professional angle at the event initially designed for public audiences. Wagner will be honored with a career homage for her work. Industry pros can also perfect the art of “le schmooze” at the Film Corner that was launched last year to unite French and American buyers and sellers in a relaxed setting.

Organizers hope the initiative will give the U.S. indie titles selected at the fest without French distribution deals to find homes in Gallic theaters. The Film Corner was launched in partnership with Cinando.com, the Marche du Film’s online database, and LVT.

French and U.S. producers will rendez-vous Sept. 3 for a discussion around the topic “Producing in the USA Today.” Mandarin Cinema’s Eric Altmayer and Les Productions du Tresor’s Alain Attal will add their French accents and perspectives to the table and Wagner will also join the dialogue. Professionals in town for the day can also take advantage of both official festival screenings and screenings at the Film Corner in addition to a special lunch and cocktail.

Deauville will also see green when environmental organizations Ecoprod and PGA Green unite for an earthly focus.

The fest will take a break from France’s coveted “7th art” form to put the spotlight on the small screen for “Deauville Season 3.” Homeland, Girls and The Newsroom will all screen for public audiences. U.S. and French screenwriters will also meet and exchange dialogue and ideas.

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In addition to Friedkin and Melvin Van Peebles, the fest said Wednesday that it will pay homage to the careers of Neeson, Hayek, Harvey Keitel and composer John Williams. Musicians from the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Williams’ music at a live concert Sept. 8 at Deauville’s famed Casino.

Friedkin will also give a master class Sept. 2 as part of his tribute. 

Other confirmed public events include a conference Sept. 6 about Jean-Pierre Melville’s influence on U.S. cinema and a “film analysis” on Sept. 7 that will focus on last year’s big festival winner Take Shelter hosted by professor of film at Columbia University David McKenna.

The Deauville American Film Festival will run from Aug. 31-Sept. 9.

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