Stars descend on Deauville American Film Fest

Annette Bening, Terry Gilliam, Zac Efron expected

PARIS -- The 36th annual Deauville American Film Festival will kick off on Friday with a smaller screen, but bigger stars than recent years with Annette Bening, Terry Gilliam and Zac Efron among the talent expected on the Normandy shores.

The fest will host its first "Deauville: Season 1" sidebar, a screenwriting and creativity platform for professionals in the TV biz.

The TV sidebar will run from Sept 4th – 5th during Deauville's opening weekend and will feature Master Classes, an "All About Screenwriting" professional discussion among French and TV writers and screenings of the latest hit U.S. shows including recent Emmy-winners "Modern Family" and "The Good Wife" plus "Sons of Anarchy," "House," "Treme," "How to Make it in America," "True Blood" and "The Sopranos."

Master Classes will be taught by creator, screenwriter, director and producer of "The Sopranos" David Chase and screenwriter, producer and showrunner of "Dexter" Clyde Phillips. In addition to the small screen, Deauville fans can also track their favorite festival on the fest's new Facebook fan page, which will feature news, photos, video and exclusive content.

Bening and Gilliam will head to the beachside resort town to accept tributes. The fest plans to screen Gilliam's complete works throughout the 10-day film fete and Gilliam will host a "Rendez-Vous" with fest-goers to talk about his work complete with a Q&A session.

Attendees can also watch director Gregg Araki's films in a special sidebar tribute titled "Generation Araki."

Bening also stars in "The Kids Are All Right," set to screen out of competition at the fest. Efron will be in town to present his latest starring role in "Charlie St Cloud," also screening out of competition.

Other talent and directors of note set for a Normandy beach invasion include Diego Luna for his film "Abel" in competition, Jay Duplass and John C Reilly for "Cyrus," America Ferrara for "The Dry Land," Brady Corbett for "Two Gates of Sleep" plus fest fave "Winter's Bone" star Jennifer Lawrence and director Debra Granik.

Belgian writer, director and screenwriter Lucas Belvaux will head the feature films jury alongside fellow Belgian director and screenwriter Fabrice Du Welz, Moroccan director and screenwriter Faouzi Bensaidi, French director, screenwriter and stage actress Christine Citti, Franco-Spanish songwriter, composer, singer and writer Nilda Fernandez, French director and screenwriter Tony Gatlif, French actor Denis Lavant and Mauritian director and screenwriter Abderrahmane Sissako.

Acclaimed American author Joyce Carol Oates will be in town to accept the fest's coveted Book Prize on Sept. 11th. Despite a visit from "Julie & Julia" star Meryl Streep, last year's event saw far less talent and excitement than previous years, but with several anticipated titles screening both in and out of competition and new initiatives in place, this year's 36th edition will hopefully breathe some life back into the sleepy fest. The Deauville American Film Festival runs Sept 3rd – 12th in Normandy.
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