The Collegian
Thursday, September 21, 2023

University of Richmond to cohost 24th annual French Film Festival

<p>The flyer for the 2016 French Film Festival. Photo courtesy of&nbsp;<a href="">the festival's website</a>.</p>

The flyer for the 2016 French Film Festival. Photo courtesy of the festival's website.

Looking for some joie de vivre? Then répondez s’il vous plaît to the 24th annual French Film Festival.

Richmond students have been organizing and coordinating various aspects of this year’s festival through a class that is offered for French and film studies students. With 2.5 hour classes once per week and 8 hours in the French Film Festival office per week, students get an inside look and first-hand experience in the production of the festival, including a sneak peak of some of the films before the premiere.

Co-hosted by University of Richmond and VCU, the festival will take place at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown from March 31 until April 3.

In 2015 the festival attracted visitors from 42 states. This year it will feature a wide variety of events, including free pre and post festival events, master classes and 32 screenings of the latest French films.

“My favorite thing about the class is working with the French interns who have experience working on events like this,” junior Abby Lavalley said. “They bring a different perspective to our work and are great to learn from and just talk with.”

The class consists of 14 students, who use their French skills while promoting the festival around the city of Richmond. They help translate and proofread details on the program's website, such as movie synopses and interviews with directors. Promotional materials are distributed throughout the Richmond area. The students visited high school French classes and the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“I saw around seven feature films and most of the short films which will be presented, but it differs by student, since everyone has different office-hour schedules,” a Westhampton College senior taking the course said. “My favorite movie that I saw was En Équilibre, because the themes were really relatable to college students, and the story was interesting.”

Other films being shown this weekend, according to the festival's press release, include Un temps de Président, L’Enquête and Human. These three films are all accompanied by their directors and/or film editors, who will come to Richmond for the festival.

The North-American premiere of Human will take place at the Byrd Theatre during the festival. This decision was made by world-renowned aerial photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the creator of the film.

Human is a rare collection of exclusive testimonies, faces and destinies complemented by a few breathtaking photographs of the planet, creating a powerful link between Mankind and the Earth and raising the issue of their common future,” according to the press release.

Madeline Smith, a Westhampton College senior who took the French Film Festival course during the spring of 2015, said she was passionate about French film and had gone to the festival every year.

“My favorite part when I worked it was meeting all the actors, directors and screenwriters whose films I had spent so much time on,” Smith said. “My job during the weekend was to go to the Fresh Market and get lunch for them and to host them at the owner of the Byrd Theatre’s apartment across the street in between their films.”

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All films throughout the weekend will have English subtitles. Tickets for individual films are $15 and are available for purchase at the Byrd Theater 30 minutes before each show. For a list of all the screenings, visit the festival's website at

Contact reporter Kay Trulaske at

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