Interview with the coordinator of My French Film Festival, Jean-Remi Durcourtioux.

 NOTE: This interview was first published on Examiner.com until the site ended on July 10, 2016. Kellie Haulotte is the author. 

As most know since mid-January My French Film Festival has been going on and is now going on its last week. I was lucky enough to get an interview with the coordinator of the festival, Jean-Remi Durcourtioux.

1. My first question is having this film festival online, do you think that more people now get a chance to watch French movies? Is that one of the reasons why it is online?
The festival was born from several simple facts : the first and second films are difficult to export , because of a lack of notoriety for the directors . Movies can have real qualities but will never be shown to a foreign audience.

On the other hand , the French cinema must renew its public abroad if it wants to stay strong on the international market. So, it was necessary to have a strong visibility with an alternative offer. The public is not only looking for blockbusters, it is important to provide an identifiable and accessible offer. We had to go looking for young audiences on his land and not wait for it to come to us.
So we decided to create this festival 4 years ago, using the capabilities of the Internet: the festival can be worldwide, with many languages ​​, reaching a young audience and create a community of French cinema lovers, showing them films they can't watch somewhere else. The idea in the long term is to make French cinema available through an editorialized offer to show the young public that there is an alternative to American blockbusters.
The results are encouraging : 65 % of the audience is under 35 years. First results of this new edition are better than last year : we have 3,4 million of film viewings in 3 weeks against 750.000 for the whole 3rd edition.

2. How do you guys pick which movies get to be screened at the festival?

Rights holders (international sales) offered us their film. We received about 70 proposals this year. On this list, the Executive Committee of Unifrance (composed by directors, producers, artists) vote for the 10 films that will be selected. For short films, the festival team can fully select the 10 films. We watch a lot of things to offer what we consider the 10 best short films of the year.
3. How are the juries picked for the festival? Who decides this?
For the directors jury, we wanted to work with famous directors, with cinema that we like, representing the diversity of independent creation worldwide. Lynne ramsay (We need to talk about Kevin), Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur), Marco Bellocchio (Vincere) and Frederic Fonteyne (Tango Libre) were the best ambassadors of the festival. For the president, it was important to work with a famous French director. After Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) last year, we have the chance to work with Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) this year.

For the social networks jury, we choose 100 influent people on Facebook and Twitter, from 20 different countries, to spread the world.

4. How many U.S. users roughly do you think are watching these movies?
As the festival is still opened, we don't have complete statistics. But thanks to our partnership with iTunes, we think we will have more users than last year. Also, there is more than 150 screenings in theatres for the films in the US. It is important to complete the VOD broadcast with this to build a link with the audience, make the festival more tangible, and of course to reach more people.

5. More about statistics, how many people around the world can you roughly say are renting movies from the festival?
At the end of the festival, we will have around 4 millions of film viewings, it is the best scrore for the festival so far. Last year, we had 750.000 film viewings, and 40.000 the first year. But, each year, it is not only renting : in China, Latin America, Poland, Russia and Turkey, films are free of charge for the user. It was important to make it available for free, because there is a lot of piracy in those countries, and the VOD market there is not yet strong enough to provide non super commercial content. For this, we pay the right holders before the festival for each country.

6. How exactly does the winners get chosen?

The public can vote online rating the feature and short films. The winners will be the two films with the best rate.
The 5 directors and 10 international press jury have already chosen their winning film at a meeting in Paris during the festival, we will announce them at the end of the festival. For the social networks jury, they vote on a specifical group created on Facebook.

7. Since for the U.S. it's Oscar season now, through the years of the movies that have been on My French Film Festival, have there been any nominated or Oscar winners?

Each year - and we are very proud of it - our short films selection has many selection and awards around the world. This year, one of the short, "Avant que de tout perdre" is nominated for the Oscars. We also had a Palme d'Or, French C├ęsar, and a lot of other awards.

8. Last but not least what would you like to share with the readers about My French Film Festival?
We really hope you will like the films and enjoy the festival. We did our best for you to have a good time.

So thanks again to Jean-Remi Ducourtioux for taking the time to explain the festival and for sharing some insights about it. It's on till Monday, so everyone check it out before it's too late, My French Film Festival. Defintly fans of French movies and for those who want to watch one for the first time, should check it out.

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