This year I managed to watch eight out twelve features offered by the online ‘My French Film Festival’. Nick had already seen one of the twelve and he managed to watch all the other features. We disagreed on a couple of the titles but mainly came to similar conclusions. The festival ran from January 16 to February 16.

The festival is supported by the important French Cinema agency UniFrance – perhaps it is actually owned by UniFrance? Both organisations are attempting to interest overseas viewers in viewing French films. My French Film Festival is available in many territories worldwide in conjunction with local partners. In some territories it is free to watch all films. In the UK, the feature films are €1.99 each or €7.99 for all twelve. I used the online app from the festival itself but I think  it is available on different platforms – at least one of the features appeared on MUBI UK. There are festival juries and awards are made by four separate bodies. The festival also includes shorts which are free to view in all territories. Shorts are treated differently in different film territories – they are arguably more important as ‘calling cards’ in France than in the UK – and I generally don’t watch shorts in festivals unless they are programmed with features. This is mainly an issue about time and priorities but I know other bloggers who take far more interest in shorts.

I enjoyed this year’s festival and watched more films than last year. I am intrigued as to the criteria for selecting the films. Some of the titles seem to have been around for a while. Nick had seen School’s Out at the Leeds International Film Festival in 2018. I had forgotten about it. This film was awarded the ‘Jury Prize’ which I thought was odd. It’s OK but The Swallows of Kabul and Meteorites, which shared the other two prizes, seemed more worthwhile to me. I hope to see Swallows of Kabul in some form of UK distribution at some point. This year there was an archive title, Ma 6-T va crack-er from 1997. This was not in competition for a prize, along with a francophone cinema titles from Switzerland and Belgium. Finally I was struck that one actor, Swann Arlaud, featured in three out of the twelve films. Presumably that was just a coincidence. The festival website states: is an innovative concept that aims to shine a spotlight on new generation French-language filmmakers and to give internet users across the globe the chance to share their enthusiasm for French cinema.

That sounds like a laudable aim and though we rich folk in the UK have to pay, it is only a small amount. So, wherever you are do look out for the 2021 edition.