The 17th edition of the French Film Festival, presented by the Embassy of France to the Philippines and the Alliance Française de Manille, as part of the French cultural program, Francophil, is happening on June 8-17, 2012.

Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist,” which pays tribute to the beginnings of cinema as both an art of telling stories through moving pictures and an industry producing economic products affected by market trends and management strategies, will open this year’s festival. The film received hundreds of awards in international festivals and recently winning five Oscars, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin.

The UP Film Institute and the Cultural Center of the Philippines will provide an opportunity for Olivier Assayas, one of France’s most respected directors, to share his passion for cinema by providing a venue for him to interact with Filipino film directors and students upon his arrival in Manila.

Assayas will hold a Master Class at the UP Film Institute on June 7, Thursday at 2PM, where the director is expected to share his passion for cinema by providing a venue where he can interact with Filipino film directors and students here.

Seven of Olivier Assayas’ films—L’Eau Froide (Cold Water), Irma Vep, HHH portrait de Hou Hsiao-hsien, Les Destinees sentimentales (Sentimental Destinies), Demonlover, Clean, and L’Heure d’Ete (Summer Hours)—have been selected by the Institut Français, an agency of the French Ministry of Culture, and the Philippine distributor Pioneer Films, to be shown during the festival.

The festival provides an opportunity to highlight cooperation between France and the Philippines through cinema. Traditionally, on Independence Day, the festival pays tribute to Philippine cinema by screening Filipino films that have been shown in festivals in France, or whose directors have participated in French workshops or seminars. Among the films to be shown this year are “Busong” by Auraeus Solito (Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2011), “Manila” by Raya Martin and Adolfo Alix, Jr. (Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2009), “Bakal Boys” by Ralstom Jover (participant in the Cinéfondation Atelier, Cannes Film Festival 2012) and the short films “Little” and “Au Revoir Philippe” by Sigrid Bernardo (One Country One Film Festival, Apchat).

The Festival will also have the privilege of screening Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive,” a Franco-German-Filipino co-production, starring French actress Isabelle Huppert and Filipino actors Angel Aquino, Ronnie Lazaro, Raymond Bagatsing and Sid Lucero, was the country’s entry to the Berlin film fest last February. This sneak preview, organized in cooperation with Star Cinema, will be by-invitation only.

The French Film Festival will be held in Manila from June 8 to 17 at the Shang Cineplex of the Shangri-La Plaza, the home of international film festivals. The heightened prestige of the Festival is made possible through the support and sponsorship of Citibank and Rustan’s, hence, the branding “Citi-Rustan’s French Film Festival.”

The Citi-Rustan’s French Film Festival will proceed to Cebu from June 21 to 23 at the Ayala Center in Cebu, in cooperation with the Alliance Française de Cebu.

The Festival is supported by Shangri-La Plaza, Citibank, Rustan’s, Total, Air France-KLM, Pernod Ricard Philippines, Mandarin Oriental Manila, Pioneer Films, Le Cellier Wines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the UP Film Institute, and the official media partners Business World, High Life, Travel, Radio High 105.9 and, last but not the least,, where the festival schedule will be posted.

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