French Launch Online Film Festival

UPDATE: I’m disappointed to report that here in Canada, it appears that all of the feature films are region-blocked. While I enjoy shorts, I was looking forward to checking out a few of the features. What really stinks about this is that I suspect the films have distributors in Québec, but none of these films will be released outside of Québec, and I expect that the site is region-blocking the entire country of Canada. Oh well, enjoy the films, rest of the world!

Leave it to the French. Not only do they have one of the most prolific and robust film industries in the world outside of Hollywood, but now they’re innovating again by curating an online festival of recent French films that can be viewed all over the world, subtitled in ten languages. is a collaboration between Unifrance and Allocine with the support of several other organizations including Variety.

Between January 14 and 29, viewers will have access to ten features and ten shorts in the competition as well as three out-of-competition features. They’ve assembled an impressive jury of press critics (including one of my favourites, Karina Longworth from LA Weekly) and another made up of international bloggers. Alas, there is no Canadian representation this year, but I’m hoping that if the experiment is successful, they’ll repeat it next year and maybe Canadian critics and bloggers might be considered.

They are charging to watch the films (2 Euros for a feature and 1 Euro for a short), which may limit the festival’s appeal, but they do offer some reasonable package deals: 5 Euros for access to ten shorts 10 Euros for access to 11 features, or 14 Euros to access the entire festival. Check out the festival trailer below as well as the site and their Facebook page and see if any of the programming appeals to you. There are lots of trailers and interviews on the site which can be viewed for free, and they’re even sponsoring a contest for a trip to Paris.

I find it a bit odd that they’re only running this for two weeks, but I suppose they’re trying to create a sense that this an online “event.” So even though this particular French film festival does not take place on the Riviera, you’d better check it out before the 29th or you’ll have to wait until next year.

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