University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University hosted the 22nd annual French Film Festival at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown, which took place March 27-30.
Françoise Ravaux-Kirkpatrick, a film studies and French professor at Richmond, co-directed and co-founded the program with her husband Peter Kirkpatrick, who is a professor of French and cinema at VCU.
Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said it was their desire to create an event that would attract an American audience to French culture.
“First it was films on the campus of VCU, but then it got too big. We had to move to the Byrd very quickly,” Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said.
Over 30 feature and short films were shown in this year’s festival. The films had English subtitles and were presented by their actors and directors.
Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said they tried to show diversity in contemporary French cinema and so included screenings of documentaries, dramas — both social dramas and love stories — and films for children. This was also the first time they had shown a Chinese film since it was done by a French director with a French crew.
“It shows that French cinema is also going outside France,” Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said.
The French Film Festival attracts people from all over America. Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said there were also people coming from France. Because of the great number of people traveling to Richmond, the structure of the event has been changed into three or four intensive days instead of a week.
“In France, Richmond is very well-known because of the festival, and because all the directors and actors are coming here and leave with wonderful memories of the event and of the city of Richmond and the welcome that they receive in the city,” she said.
The festival also has ties with the Cannes Film Festival. Ravaux-Kirkpatrick said they went to the Cannes festival every year to find as many films as they can for their own event in Richmond.
Both Richmond and VCU have classes related to the festival. At VCU there is a subtitling class and Ravaux-Kirkpatrick teaches films at Richmond. Students in class also work as interns for the festival. They distribute the outreach materials, advertise throughout the city and translate some of the material used in the program.
Erik Lampmann, Richmond College ’14, who is a Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law and French double major, is currently taking the course with Ravaux-Kirkpatrick. He studied abroad in France and is writing his thesis in French.
“It seemed like a natural process to engage with French culture and bring it home to Richmond,” Lampmann said.
Another intern, Zac Andres, RC ’15, who a French minor and leadership studies major, studied abroad in Paris last semester. He said he thought the class would be an interesting way to know French cinema.
Contact reporter Sabrina Islam at firstname.lastname@example.org