NY French Cinema Rendez-Vous set to go

15th annual showcase runs March 11 – 21

PARIS -- French film promotion organization Unifrance will spread the creme-de-la-creme of Gallic films and talent over the Big Apple when the 15th annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York satiates Manhattan's appetite for Gallic cinema on March 11th at Lincoln Center.

A selection of films will screen for the public at the Walter Reade Theater and the IFC Center in Manhattan and the BAM in Brooklyn, and Unifrance is hoping positive buzz for the titles will spark sales for the nine titles in the lineup still seeking US buyers.

Christian Carion's "L'Affaire Farewell," a NeoClassics title stateside, will open the fest with Carion and the film's star Guillaume Canet set to join the opening festivities.

The Rendez-Vous will feature screenings of several titles nominated for this year's Cesar Awards including best film nominees Philippe Lioret's "Welcome," Xavier Giannoli's "In the Beginning" and Lucas Belvaux's "Rapt."

Cesar for best first film winner Riad Sattouf's "The French Kissers," still looking for U.S. distribution, will also screen as will fellow Cesar noms Stephane Brize's "Mademoiselle Chambon" and Claude and Nathan Miller's "I am Glad that My Mother is Alive."

Film Society of Lincoln Center members will be treated to a few laughs with Gallic comedy "OSS 117: Lost in Rio" plus a few tears with Robert Guediguian's World War II drama "The Army of Crime," recently snapped up by Lorber films at the EFM in Berlin.

Organizers have jazzed up the Franco-American fete with a series of events including a conversation with Michel Gondry, whose "The Thorn in the Heart" will screen in the official selection, plus a conversation with "Welcome" star, actor Vincent Lindon.

French institute the FIAF will host director Christophe Honore and actress Chiara Mastroianni who will present a special screening of Honore's musical comedy "Love Songs." Honore's latest film, "Making plans for Lena," will screen in selection.

The Fiaf will also host Yvan Attal, who will present two short films he directed, including a short for recently released "New York, I Love You." Attal will also head to Columbia University with director Cedric Kahn to screen Kahn's "Les Regrets."

Attal's latest film, "Rapt," sold by Films Distribution, is still seeking U.S. distribution as are fellow Rendez-Vous titles "In the Beginning" (Europacorp), "The King of Evasion" (Les Films du Losange), "The Wolberg Family" (Pyramide), "Le Bel Age" (Films Distribution), "Huit fois Debout" (Moteur SVP Productions) and "Le Herisson" (Pathe).

Francois Ozon will present his latest drama "The Refuge" on closing night. The story about a pregnant former heroin addict and her relationship with her dead lover's brother will hit U.S. theaters via Strand Releasing.

Unifrance is taking advantage of the Franco-American annual affair to host a multi-city photo expo featuring 35 of the French directors and talents present at the Rendez-Vous. The expo will be held at the Furman Gallery at Lincoln Center during the NY event before heading to China then Cannes during the film fest in May, then finally to Paris in July.

The 15th Rendez-Vous with French cinema in New York runs March 11 – 21.