From the City of Lights to the City of Angels: ColCoa 2017

by Serge Rakhlin April 20, 2017
ColCoa Festival Executive Producer and Programmer Francois Truffart

getty images/valerie macon

Here we go again! For the 21st time ColCoa French Film Festival, the biggest showcase of French Cinema outside of France, will open at Directors Guild of America’s complex on April 24, 2017 with the North American premiere of Everyone’s Life by French Film legend and Golden Globe winner Claude Lelouch. The festival will feature a record 82 films, television series and, for the first time in its history, web series, and will run until May 2, 2017. Many of the programmed films will have their World, North American or US premieres during the Festival.

The founder of ColCoa François Truffart, Executive Producer and Artistic Director of the festival says: “ColCoa will reach a new level in 2017 with two new categories – a virtual reality (VR) program and a web series competition. These two new popular formats offer more opportunities to showcase the creativity of French producers and filmmakers as well as the diversity of French production. While entertainment is still the key word for the program, there will be balanced mix of comedies and dramas, with several topical issues in the program this year – the environment, discrimination, racism, terrorism and the role of the artist in society. More than ever ColCoa will offer a unique opportunity to see these universal topics from different angles”.

I concur. At press time I had the opportunity to see (at the press screening preceding the festival) the new documentary Why Do They Hate Us? Which does exactly what Mr.Truffart says – it explores in an original, sometimes even provocative way, the issues of racism, ethnic hatred and intolerance in contemporary France. Directors Lucien Jean-Baptiste, Amelle Chahbi and Alexandre Amiel – who are also are featured in the film- make the issues absolutely universal.

During the festival the popular ColCoa High School screening program will attract more than 3000 Southern California students and teachers who will attend free screenings and panels with filmmakers. The students will also participate in a student film critic contest. ColCoa is smartly growing a new generation of French Film lovers – a task made easier because young people are used to read text on a screen.

As usual great many famous and upcoming French directors and actors will attend the Festival and participate in discussions and other events: besides Mr. Lelouch, actors of renown like Patric Bruel, Lambert Wilson, Alexandra Lamy and Dany Boon will attend.

Last year 25,000 film fans enjoyed ColCoa, and more are expected this year. Many of the festivaliers  will be Hollywood producers and executives looking for films to buy and ideas for remakes. Let’s not forget that the cinema itself was invented by two Frenchmen – the Lumiere brothers.