Dinard festival artistic director Hussam Hindi has made an impassioned plea for the British to resume their support of the event (which showcases British films to French audiences).
The Festival, whose 23rd edition runs Oct 3-7, currently runs on a budget of around €500,000 – none of it from British sources. It is four years now since The UK Film Council and the British Council withdrew their support of the event.
“We are the only and the main event in Europe for your (British) cinema,” Hindi commented. He pointed out that, in recent years, several British films have received French distribution directly as a result of being shown in Dinard. (For example, last year DistriB Films picked up Golden Hitchcock winner Tyrannosaur after its Dinard screening.)
BFI representatives have been in town this week as guests of the festival. However, there is no sign yet that the Brits are minded to resume their backing of the event.
“It is disappointing,” Hindi said.
The festival posts audiences of around 29,000. British delegates are flown over in a chartered plane and there are meeting between British and French producers.
“French audiences like the humour and simplicity and way of watching the world,” Hindi claimed of local spectators’ enthusiasm for UK film fare.
The amount the British used to contribute to the event was relatively small (approximately €40,000). Nonetheless, without it, the Festival has had to reduce the number of professional guests it invites.
“We used to have 200 people from London. Now, we have 150,” the artistic director observed.
Among the victims of the cutbacks are the golfers. In the past, Dinard used to finance the annual France v GB golf tournament which pits leading producers from both countries against each other in a mini film industry version of the Ryder Cup. The competition continues but the producers pay for themselves and no longer “participate in the life of the festival.”
Hindi also revealed that, next year, Dinard plans to open its doors to British TV drama series as well as movies.