Paris Cinema Fair begins


PARIS -- Humor, music and movies will take center stage at the second annual Paris Cinema Fair kicks off here Friday.

Last year's public-professional celebration of film brought together more than 50,000 cinephiles and industry professionals under one roof at the city's exhibition hall the Porte de Versailles.

Organizers are hoping that this year's three-day Salon du Cinema will draw as many as 70,000 visitors in the new 12,500 square meter exhibition space (compared to 8,000 square meters last year).

The behind-the-scenes access to moviemaking will pay homage to big screen funnymen Louis de Funes and Charlie Chaplin with a special focus on comedy.

Composer Vladimir Cosma, will preside over a parallel celebration of music in film complete with live concerts, musical master classes and screenings of documentaries to mark the 100th anniversary of the use of music in movies.

The event will also pay homage to the French New Wave movement, 50 years after it changed the face of cinema.

While his attempt at mythical comedy "His Majesty Minor" was perhaps the biggest critical and public flop at the Gallic boxoffice last year, director Jean-Jacques Annaud has been crowned honorary president of this year's Salon du Cinema. "What a wonderful gamble to want to teach others what, happily enough, we haven't finished learning ourselves," Annaud said.

The public will be able to see the making of "making of" specials, participate in the shooting of a thriller and access their favorite faces from the big screen including thesps Danny Boon, Charles Berling and Elsa Zylberstein and directors Christophe Barratier and Jan Kounen.

This year's event, organized once again by Gad Abitbol, Jonathan Bryant and Moise Kissous, will focus even more on film professionals with a new industry corner featuring stands representing the country's major technical and special effects companies. Cinephiles can also attend conferences, master classes, screenings, exhibitions and workshops, while clips and trailers from more than 20 upcoming 2008 releases will be screened.