Francis Ford Coppola, 'The Help' Cast Kick Off Deauville Film Festival

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Francis Ford Coppola

Ellen Barkin and Kate Bosworth cause a frenzy on the red carpet of their film "Another Happy Day."

The red carpet sparkled with sun and stars on Friday as the 37th annual Deauville American Film Festival kicked off on a beautiful Normandy night with Francis Ford Coppola and the stars of The Help.

French femmes met Hollywood’s leading ladies at the opening ceremonies of France’s annual ode to American cinema and Gallic premiere of Tate Taylor’s The Help. It was another happy night for Ellen Barkin and Kate Bosworth who caused a photo frenzy among paparazzi as they graced the red carpet to promote their film Another Happy Day which will screen at the festival on Sunday.

Meanwhile, A-list actresses Chiara Mastroianni and Nathalie Baye added Gallic glam alongside jury president Olivier Assayas and fellow jury members director Claire Denis, musical group Air’s Nicolas Godin, choreographer and director Angelin Preljocaj, writer Jean Rolin and actor Bruno Todeschini. 

Festival de Cannes director Thierry Fremaux traded the Riviera for Calvados country to attend the fest's opening and Bill Murray made a surprise appearance at the event as well.

The Help stars turned Mississippi à la mode when Taylor and his starlets Allison Janney, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer joined author Kathryn Stockett on the red carpet.

“It was a severe subject matter, but we all loved each other and had a wonderful time making this movie together,” Janney said.

The film isn’t released in Gaul until Oct. 26, but Deauville audiences got a sneak peek at the American drama, a U.S. box office hit.

“I’m so grateful to be here – for a little girl from Jackson, Mississippi to be here in glamorous Deauville is incredible,” Stockett said.

Despite the glam, the fest added a serious note to the otherwise jubilant evening with a moment to remember the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 and a message to festgoers: “The Deauville American Film Festival will never forget 2011.”

The man of the evening, the fest’s guest of honor Coppola, made a short and sweet visit to the stage to officially declare the festival open. The family of Deauville gave the legendary filmmaker a standing ovation. “It’s such a kind reception. I’m thrilled to be here this evening as an honoree and host to commemorate American cinema,” Coppola told the crowd.

He added: “I thought I might have something funny to say, but it slipped my mind.”

Coppola’s mind has been quite busy focusing on daughter Sofia’s recent nuptials. The ceremony and film premiere were followed by a gala dinner and soiree at the nearby Casino Barriere Deauville. The Deauville American Film Festival will run through Sept. 11 in the Normandy seaside town.

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