The biggest French cinema festival outside of France will be taking place in Los Angeles from April 24 through May 2. Organized between the Oscars and Cannes, the COLCOA festival offers Francophone cinema a prestigious showcase in Hollywood.
The COLCOA festival was founded 20 years ago by the Franco-American Culture Fund. Drawing its name from “City Of Lights City Of Angels,” the festival acts as a bridge between the film industries of Los Angeles and Paris. Some 82 French movies will be featured at the event in West Hollywood, shown in the theatres of the Directors Guild of America. “It’s an excellent way to attract American professionals to French productions,” says François Truffart, the festival director for the last ten years, and a former U.S. representative of the Marché du Film, a trade fair organized alongside the Cannes Film Festival.
When the festival was first launched in 1996, only feature-length films were entered. But COLCOA has since diversified to include short films, television films and series. This year saw the arrival of virtual reality films and web-series on the line-up. For example, the web-series T.A.N.K. by French director Samuel Bodin follows an escaped prisoner who accidently steals a car belonging to a drug runner. Another series, Touche Française by Jean-François Tatin, portrays the rise of French electro music over 12 episodes. “France is the leading country on the web-series market,” says François Truffart. “And more and more American film professionals are investing in online formats.”
The festival is a chance for producers and distributors to get an idea of how new French productions will play with American audiences. “COLCOA is an important promotion tool for French cinema,” says François Truffart. “Featuring 82 different works means we can offer high-quality films that have yet to find a distributor in the United States.”
Some of the films are already standing out from the crowd. Premiering in North America, Mr. & Mrs. Adelman by Nicolas Bedos is “a trashy Woody Allen the Americans are going to love.” In Step by Step, a film “as poignant as it is funny,” the handicapped singer Grand Corps Malade portrays his real-life accident and subsequent physiotherapy. And the most recent film by Nicolas Boukhrief, The Confession, is inspired by the novel Léon Morin, Priest, by Béatrix Beck. Roman Duris, who shot to fame in the U.S.A. with L’Auberge Espagnole, stars in the lead role. François Truffart certainly approves: “he’s marvelous!”
From April 24 to May 2 2017
Directors Guild of America Theater Complex
Los Angeles, California