The current season of the Alliance Française French Film Festival has emerged as the most successful in the Festival’s 26-year history. Australians really embraced the celebration of French cinema this year, with audience figures soaring from 130,000 in 2014 to 155,000 in 2015, indicating an overall increase of 19%. And with the Festival still continuing to screen in Hobart and Byron Bay, it’s likely the final figure will be even greater.
In Sydney, the Festival’s 490 sessions at four key locations drew close to 49,000 patrons, resulting in an increase of 17% from 2014. Likewise, Melbourne’s 552 sessions attracted a similar number of French movie-enthusiasts, causing admissions to rise by 27%; whilst Brisbane, Canberra and Perth recorded increases of 23%, 27% and 22% respectively.
Australian audiences have long been great supporters of French cinema. This is evident when you consider that in 2014, 27 films backed by French production companies released on Australian screens drew close to 1.9 million spectators, resulting in an increase of 67.5% as compared to the number of spectators recorded in 2013.
Presented by Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, along with the generous support of presenting sponsor Peugeot and screening partner Palace Cinemas, this stellar seasonal event would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many individuals and organisations.
“Wonderful team work and excellent coordination between all partners contributed greatly to the success of the Festival,” said Isabelle Faure, Chief Representative of Foundation Alliance Française in Australia.
Whilst His Excellency, Mr. Christophe Lecourtier, Ambassador of France in Australia, said: “The Festival has been a great success and an exceptional way of showcasing French creativity. In reaching 155,000 spectators, this year has marked an historic achievement. And well beyond the realm of cinema, 2015 is an important year for the relations between our two countries, as we acknowledge the significance of Australia’s contribution in ensuring that the France of today is a free, sovereign and independent nation. Merci!”
Also bringing their cinematic passion to proceedings were renowned movie critics Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, who were this year’s honoured Patrons. “The record attendance at the 2015 Alliance Française French Film Festival is proof of the enthusiasm Australian audiences have for French cinema,” said Stratton. “This was a varied program and also a stimulating one. Our thanks go to the organisers and, of course, to the filmmakers themselves.”
With 1,800 sessions nationally, and an impeccable line-up of 49 diverse French features and documentaries, most of which were premiere screenings, the 2015 season beguiled audiences of all ages and tastes. Program favourites included 3 Hearts, Gemma Bovery, The Bélier Family, Diplomacy, Nicholas on Holiday and Far From Men.
The 2015 Alliance Française French Film Festival continues to screen around the country as follows:
BYRON BAY: 9-14 April Palace Byron Bay
HOBART: 16-21 April State Cinema
For a full Festival program and tickets visit: http://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org