A record 54 market premieres will be hosted at the Rendez-Vous showcase held by the French film promotion org Unifrance in Paris which will kick off Jan. 16 with the world premiere of Pascal Bonitzer’s “Auction.”
The biggest film market dedicated exclusively to French movies, the Rendez-Vous in Paris will welcome 420 buyers from 50 countries and 47 sales companies. As many as 1,000 professionals have registered for the week-long event. Since Unifrance has now merged with TV France International, the event will also gather 100 TV buyers from 27 countries.
“After returning last year with a post-pandemic edition, we’re back to normal with over 400 buyers — and we even have new buyers from Quebec and Africa, along with about 15 Latin American distributors,” said Gilles Renouard, Unifrance’s co-managing director.
More than 80 completed movies will screen at the Rendez-Vous, 54 of which have never been shown at an international festival or market. Renouard says the large roster of films “underscores France’s rising production levels.” It also shows that the Rendez-Vous has become a crucial launchpad for French films outside of the major film market such as Cannes and Berlinale’s European Film Market.
Renouard argues French sales agents also found last year’s Venice and Toronto film festival to be underwhelming in terms of dealmaking. The timing of the Rendez-Vous has always been favorable to sales agents because it’s held in the run-up to the European Film Market and allows them to shine a spotlight on select titles and spark discussions with buyers. While streamers are now occasionally buying French movies for global roll-outs, the Rendez-Vous typically attracts traditional distributors for individual territories.
This year’s Rendez-Vous slate will range from comedies, to festival-friendly dramas and a few genre films, as well as a few documentaries. Among the anticipated highlights of this 26th edition are Anne Fontaine’s “Bolero,” a film set in the roaring 1920’s, about the birth of the renowned orchestral work from Maurice Ravel; Arnaud des Pallières’ 19th-century set “Party of Fools,” Noé Debré’s “A Good Jewish Boy,” Edouard Bergeon’s eco-themed “The Green Deal,” Caroline Vignal’s “It’s Raining Men,” the helmer’s follow up to “My Donkey, My Lover and I;” Isabelle Brocard’s period film “Madame de Sevigné;” and Franck Charlot and Alexandre Magnier’s “Le Larbin” starring “Welcome to Ch’tis” actor Kad Merad; and Fred Cavayé’s “Les chèvres” starring Dany Boon.
Last year’s Rendez-Vous bowed with the world premiere of Francois Ozon’s “My Crime” which turned out to be one of the helmer’s biggest commercial and critical hits.
Market screenings will be across four movie theaters located in the Champs-Elysees district, in the heart of Paris. The opening night premiere of “The Auction” will be followed by a cocktail reception bringing together sales agents, distributors and producers.
Besides the screenings, the Rendez-Vous will also organize the second edition of the Export Day, a conference dedicated to international sales business for French movies, as well as junkets with directors, actors and showrunners on Jan 20-23 at the Hôtel du Collectionneur.