Indie-focused Rencontres lures Haynes

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PARIS -- Independent cinema will rendezvous with the city of Paris when the 13th edition of the Rencontres Internationales de Cinema a Paris kicks off here Nov. 27.

The eight-day event is organized by the Forum des Images, a film center and archive created by the city of Paris.

The festival aims "to defend independent cinema, to encourage the discovery and spread of demanding films and to promote their release in theaters thanks to the prizes given out each year," organizers said.

American helmer Todd Haynes will be in the spotlight with a complete retrospective of his works.

Forum des Images director Laurence Herszberg called Haynes "one of the most original, singular voices in American cinema who has exploded cinematic codes for over 20 years."

The director will present each of his films to French audiences, including a premiere of the upcoming Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There." He'll also give a "cinema lesson" to the public Dec. 1.

Cinephiles also will be treated to an homage to Lech Kowalski. The Polish documentarian will be in town for the honor and present his latest feature documentary "Winners & Losers."

The Rencontres also will honor young Romanian cinema with nine first films from six young directors from the country.

The competition section will include 12 feature films (10 fiction, two documentaries) and 11 directors are scheduled to attend to present their films at the public screenings.

Competition titles include: Bard Breien's "The Art of Negative Thinking" (Norway), Nick Broomfield's "Battle for Haditha" (U.K.-Jordan), Hana Makhmalbaf's "Le Cahier" (Iran-France), Philippe Ramos' "Capitaine Achab" (France-Sweden), Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas' "Cochochi" (Mexico), Antoine Cattin and Pavel Kostomarov's "La Mere" (Switzerland-France-Russia), Aurelia Georges' "L'Homme qui Marche" (France), Denis Cote's "Nos Vies Privees" (Canada), Jia Zhang-Ke's "Useless" (China), Eran Kolirin's "La Visite de la Fanfare" (Israel-France), Jeon Soo-il's "With the Girl of Black Soil" (South Korea-France) and Nanouk Leopold's "Wolfsbergen" (The Netherlands-Belgium).

Titles will vie for the Public Prize, which includes €15,000 ($22,032) from the Forum des Images to aid in the film's theatrical distribution, €3,000 ($4,406) from the Groupama Gan foundation and €2,500 ($3,672) from Titra Film for subtitling.

The eight first and second features in the category will also compete for a Press Award, voted for by a jury of Paris-based international journalists from publications including The Hollywood Reporter.

Cristian Nemescu's "California Dreamin" and Ken Loach's "It's a Free World" will hold their French premieres during the event as well.
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