'The Road Within' Wins Audience Award at Paris' Champs-Elysees Festival

Zoe Kravitz stars in 'The Road Within' along with Dev Patel and Robert Sheehan

The fourth edition of the Paris event was presided over by Jeremy Irons and Belgian actress Emilie Dequenne.

The Champs-Elysees Film Festival wrapped up its fourth edition in Paris on Tuesday with awards handed to American and French films competing in its short- and feature-length competitions.

Writer-director Gren WellsThe Road Within, starring Robert Sheehan, Zoe Kravitz and Dev Patel, received the audience award for best American independent feature. Audience awards for best short film were given to Mehrnoush Aliaghaei’s Scheherazade for the U.S. and to Marie Caldera’s J’aurais pas du mettre mes Clarks for France.

Created by French producer, distributor and exhibitor Sophie Dulac, the festival has expanded since its first year into a wide-ranging program encompassing over 100 films, screened in six cinemas on and around the famous Champs-Elysees boulevard in Western Paris.

Jeremy Irons and Belgian actress Emilie Dequenne served as presidents this year.

Alongside the screenings were two production programs: the U.S. in Progress selection, consisting of six features, of which James Morrison’s Diverge walked away with the top award; and the Paris Coproduction Village, which in its second edition focused on new projects from Brazil.

Kicking off with the Paris premiere of the Isabelle Huppert-Gerard Depardieu starrer Valley of Love, which played the competition in Cannes, the festival also featured masterclasses from Hollywood heavyweights William Friedkin and Alan Parker, as well as Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (The Deer Hunter).

New York indie stalwarts Josh and Benny Safdie were also on hand, premiering their latest feature Heaven Can Wait while offering up a masterclass and carte blanche program that included screenings of Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy and John Huston’s Fat City.

Ever since its first edition in 2012, the Champs-Elysees fest has grown in size and stature, replacing the now defunct Paris Cinema fest as the premiere citywide movie event leading up to the summer.