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French Film Festival at SUNY Purchase This Weekend

PURCHASE, N.Y. – The Eighth Annual “Focus on French Cinema” film festival at SUNY Purchase begins on Friday and runs through Sunday this weekend.

According to Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Carmen Oquendo-Villar, most of the films that will be screened this weekend are French industry films, most of which have not been shown in the United States yet. Oquendo-Villar said that the film festival fits well with her “Principals of Montage” class, which deals with editing. She added that now was the time to bring in French filmmaker Mathieu Lalande who owns his own studio, Buffalo Corp., in Paris.

“It’s interesting for the students to see it from my point-of-view because I’m still relatively young and am in a position they could be at in five to 10 years,” Lalande said. “I’ve asked them to pitch stories and we have discussed ideas.”

The student films will be screened on Saturday March 24 at 5 p.m. as part of a competition. Senior Barbara Lindsay, a student liaison for the film festival as well as the president of the Cinema Studies Film Society said that when she first discovered the festival as a freshman, she fell in love with it. Previously, Lindsay has helped produce fellow classmates’ senior films.

“The films they pick are always a different experience every year,” Lindsay said. “I took French in elementary school and try to remember some of it that I’ve lost. It’s nice to speak with people too who are not necessarily between 18 and 22 years of age both in general and about film, which this festival provides.”

Junior Quentin Vidal, who is double majoring in cinema studies and political science, will be volunteering with the film festival again this year. Vidal said that he is excited to see movies the French public has already seen to be able to compare them with contemporary American films.

“The French films are a lot more similar to American films than I first thought,” Vidal said. “We can’t really find these films here so when we do get to see them they are interesting and enjoyable.”

The festival kicks off on Friday March 23 at 7 p.m. at the PepsiCo Theater at the Performing Arts Center. A gala will follow at 9 p.m. For more information call 203-629-3644 or visit www.focusonfrenchcinema.org .

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