The San Diego French Film Festival Celebrates Francophone Cinema

The San Diego French Film Festival, presented by the Alliance Française San Diego, is back for its fourth edition!

Get ready for a glamorous opening ceremony at the high-end movie theater, The Lot, in the heart of La Jolla, followed by the “Festival days,” three days of screenings at the Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.

The SDFFF is an opportunity for the San Diego francophone community to come together to celebrate the richness and diversity of the French language, culture, and gastronomy and to experience the magic of cinema in all its glory.

“We are delighted to see the festival grow every year,” says Julie Ripoll, Executive Director of the Alliance Française San Diego. “Indeed, the festival started as an online edition in 2021 and has grown to a four-day festival this year, at two different locations to welcome more movies and more guests.”

“The positive feedback from our guests and the support of our sponsors is heartwarming,” she adds. “This year, the focus is on protecting maritime life, and a portion of the proceeds will go toward helping to protect imperiled manatees and their aquatic habitat.”

Four Days to Celebrate Francophone Cinema

The movie selection includes award-winning short and feature films that mix a rich mix of history, adventure, biopics, and environmental documentaries.

Sunday, June 2

The festival will kick off with a red carpet opening ceremony on Sunday, June 2, at The Lot. You’re invited to enjoy the screening of the acclaimed movie “The Three Musketeers: Milady” (2023), which clinched the prestigious César award.

The Three Musketeers: Milady

This cinematic masterpiece, co-produced by France, Germany, Belgium, and Spain, is directed by Martin Bourboulon and boasts a stellar cast including Eva Green, François Civil, Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmaï, and Romain Duris.

Serving as the eagerly anticipated second installment of the epic saga, adapted from Alexandre Dumas’ timeless novel, it follows “The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan” (2023) (which will be shown as a pre-festival event on May 3).

Preceding the main feature, you’ll be treated to the short film “Au Revoir Belmondo” (2023), directed by Lisa Kohn, who will attend the event.

This tender tribute celebrates the illustrious French icon Jean-Paul Belmondo, promising to captivate cinephiles and fans alike with its heartfelt homage shot in Paris.

Throughout the event, you’ll have the opportunity to step onto the red carpet and capture memorable moments with the team of photographers overseen by Diane Hamacher Photography.

If you have Gala tickets for June 2, you will be automatically entered into a sweepstake for a chance to win gifts offered by sponsors of the festival:

  • An incredible two-person getaway at Club Med, valued at $4,000, generously provided by TravelBootik
  • A VIP session, valued at $250, with renowned French hairdresser Jonathan Le Salon. Two more sessions will be offered to participants of the Festival Days.

After the screening, you are welcomed to a soirée featuring distinguished guests from the film industry, along with Julie Duhaut-Bedos, the General Consul of France in Los Angeles.

San Diego French Film Festival

Enjoy champagne, beverages, elegant hors d’oeuvres from The Lot, and delicious desserts crafted by the up-and-coming French pastry chef from San Diego, Clément Le Déoré. Following the soirée, there will be a lively dance party with a selection of Francophone music curated by DJ GRGTRAXX.

Monday, June 3

Monday, June 3, will be dedicated to the ocean, a central element in San Diego’s lifestyle, featuring two environmental documentaries.

“Humanatee” (2023), a short film produced by Planet Froth Productions, chronicles the journey of Damien Leloup, a French archaeologist and underwater explorer based in San Diego, as he forms an unexpected connection with these majestic creatures.

Humanatee french film

The documentary delves into the broader implications of humanity’s impact on species extinction. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the nonprofit organization Save the Manatee through donations.

The feature documentary “Oceans” (2009) directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, co-produced by Galatee Films, leads us to the heart of the oceans on the path of discovery of unknown or neglected marine creatures.

Shot over 50 different places including South California, this powerful documentary has received multiple awards.

The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Clay Epstein, President of Film Mode Entertainment, alongside Oscar-winning producer Antoine de Cazotte, co-producer at Galatee Films of the movie “Oceans.”

Additionally, Ricky Rhodes (writer/director) and Jordan Henderson (producer/creative director) from Planet Froth Productions, producers of “Humanatee,” will also participate.

Scientists Arnaud Le Boyer, Physical Oceanographer and Julie Dinasquet, Marine Biology Oceanographer will bring their expertise to the discussion.

In line with the mission of the Alliance Française to promote education and culture, a screening and panel discussion will take place on the morning of June 3 in partnership with the San Diego French American School, Language Academy, and Le Lycée Français de San Diego.

Tuesday, June 4

On Tuesday, June 4, the evening will commence with the screening of the short film “Monochrome” (2023), directed by Cédric Prévost. This will be followed by the feature film “Omar la Fraise” (2023), directed by Elias Belkeddar, starring Reda Kateb and Benoît Magimel.

Monochrome french film

The movie depicts the escapades of Omar, a fugitive gangster attempting to lead a low-key life in Algiers to avoid a 20-year prison sentence from French authorities. This drama-comedy, nominated at both the Cannes Festival and the Festival du nouveau cinéma of Montreal, has garnered acclaim from critics.

Telerama praised it, noting, “The evident chemistry between the commanding and intense Benoît Magimel and the mercurial and poignant Reda Kateb is one that will go down in cinema history.”

Wednesday, June 5

The festival will draw to a close on June 5, featuring the short film “Riad” (2023), directed by Yann Verburgh, and the feature film “Marinette” (2023).

This compelling biographical sports drama, written, produced, and directed by Virginie Verrier, stars Cesar nominee actress Garance Marillier as Marinette Pichon, a trailblazer in French women’s soccer.

Notably, “Marinette” is the first non-fictional biopic about a female athlete produced in France and has been showcased at prestigious events such as the Tribeca Film Festival and the Young French Cinema.

San Diego French Film Festival

Sponsors of the event include:

San Diego French Film Festival 2024

June 2, 2024: Opening reception
The Lot, 7611 Fay Ave, La Jolla

  • 4.30 PM | General admission
  • 5.00 PM | Movies
  • 7.30 PM | Gastronomic party with champagne, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and desserts
  • 9:00 PM | Party with DJ GRGTRAXX

Festival Days: June 3 to June 5
Reading Cinemas Town Square, 4665 Clairemont Dr, San Diego

  • June 3
    6:30 PM | Humanatee (short) and Oceans (feature)
    8:10 PM | Panel discussion
  • June 4
    6:30 PM | Monochrome (short) and Omar la Fraise (feature)
  • June 5
    6:30 PM | Riad (short) and Marinette (feature)

See you there!

Tickets for the opening reception are priced between $155 and $195 and can be purchased here, while tickets for the festival days are available for $18 and $20 here.

For more info on the San Diego French Film Festival, visit the website here. For updates, follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

See you there, San Diego!

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