French Film Festival brings culture to Richmond

Erika Wilkins

Spectrum Editor

In conjunction with University of Richmond, VCU presents the French Film Festival at the Byrd Theatre beginning Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m. and running through Sunday, March 28 until 5:15 p.m. The festival founded in 1993 by Peter and Francois Kirkpatrick, is the largest French film festival in existence, according to organizers. The Kirkpartricks’ cultivated the event in an effort to increase enrollment in the French major. Since its inception, the festival has morphed into a heralded event that is both uniquely Richmond and undeniably French. Its influence continues to grow with each passing year. This year, the organizers are implementing some novel changes. The first is by starting a day early.

“We’re doing a special bridging with the James River Film Festival because one of the films we’re having is the film that was shot by French filmmaker Claude Miller, who shot the film here in Virginia during the 2008 presidential campaign. Since that film is in English, it’s interviewing students from UVA and VSU, we thought it would be more appropriate to go ahead and have it on the last day of the James River Film Festival,” Peter Kirkpatrick said.

Not to be outdone or outdated by their peers in the film industry, the festival is capitalizing on the most recent, buzz-worthy interjection in modern moving making. Kirkpatrick believes that the use of 3D technology will have “as major an impact on cinema as sound was.” But instead of exploring alien planets, Jeanne Guillot’s short film using 3D to explore human relationships.

“This new technology is going to have such an impact for all of us around the world who like to watch films, whether it be in the theater or at our homes,” Kirkpatrick said.

But for those who won’t make it to the three-film showing; fear not. Kirkpatrick says the festival will be a special experience for all viewers. The French Film Festival flew in the technicians responsible for screenings at the Cannes International Film Festival to “tweak the Byrd’s optics and sounds to the maximum performance.”

A master class and discussion with the filmmakers after each film will also be to participants enjoyment. After reviewing all French films released in the past year and a half, twelve films and a multitude of shorts have been selected as the Kirkpatricks continue to bring culture to Richmond.

The French Film Festival runs from Thursday, March 25 to Sunday, March 28 at the Byrd Theatre located at 2908 W. Cary St. For more information visit

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