Wrapping up a very successful run with nearly 22,000 attendees (a festival record), the COLCOA French Film Festival today announced its festival winners. Winning the popular Audience Award was the romantic comedy, “Blind Date,” written by Lilou Fogli, Clovis Cornillac, Tristan Schulmann and Mathieu Oullion, and directed by and starring Clovis Cornillac. Having its World Premiere at COLCOA, “Blind Date” won audiences over with the escapades between Machin (Cornillac), a man who builds puzzles and wishes for silence, and his next door neighbor, Machine (Melanie Bernier), a classical pianist, who constantly plays music as she rehearses for a competition.
Winning the COLCOA/Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award was “The Last Hammer Blow” co-written by Alix Delaporte and Alaine Le Henry and directed by Delaporte. Having its North American Premiere at COLCOA, “The Last Hammer Blow” follows teenager, Victor (Romain Paul) trying to navigate school, girls, soccer, and caring for his ailing mom in their run-down trailer. But then he finds his estranged father is staying in the next town while conducting a symphony. Their meeting changes both their lives.
“Once in a Lifetime” won both the Critics and the Audience Special Prizes. Co-written by Ahmed Drame and Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar and directed by Mention-Schaar, “Once in a Lifetime” chronicles a history teacher working with inner city students who compete in a history contest. Giving the film a documentary feel, Mention-Schaar shot the film in actual classrooms with a mix of amateur and professional actors.
The Documentary prize was awarded to “Steak (R)evolution.” Writer/director Franck Ribiere and acclaimed Parisien butcher, Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec went around the world to discover what it takes to produce high-end beef. (The film will be released in the U.S. later this year.)
Hunting down a killer known as Serial Killer 1, or “SK1” was the winner of the First Feature Award. Co-written by Frederic Tellier and David Oelhoffen and directed by Tellier, “SK1” has also been picked up for U.S. distribution via Kino Lorber.
“Samba” won the COLCOA Coming Soon Award. Written by Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache, Delphine Coulin, and Muriel Coulin, the film was co-directed by Toledano and Nakache (“The Intouchables”). “Samba” follows illegal immigrant Samba (Omar Sy) who yearns to be a chef, and the social worker, Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is assigned his case. Having its U.S. Premiere at COLCOA, the film has also been picked up by Broad Green Pictures and will be “coming soon” to a theatre near you.
There were also two Special Mention Awards. The first was an Audience Special Mention Award given to the film “Memories” co-written and directed by Jean-Paul Rouve. The Critics awarded the Special Mention Award to the ironic dark thriller, “Number One Fan” co-written and directed by Jeanne Herry.
For the first time this year, COLCOA hosted a television sidebar of TV series, movies and mini-series. The winner for best TV movie was “Danbe” co-written and directed by Bourlem Guerdjou. Winning best TV series was the police procedural drama, “Spiral” (“Engrenages”) Season 5, written by Anne Landois and Simon Jablonka and directed by Frederic Jardin.
Always popular and gaining more and more critical respect are the short films that screen throughout COLCOA before feature presentations and during their own shorts screening program. Winning big was the short film “Grounded.” Written and directed by Alexis Michalik, “Grounded” is the first film to win both the Jury and the Audience Awards. The animated “Chaud Lapin” won the Jury Special Prize. Both “My Sense of Modesty” and “The Testicle” were awarded Jury Special Mentions. The Audience Short Film Special Prize went to “Smart Monkey” while the Jury Short Film Special Mention went to “Who’s Up?”