Harvey Weinstein, Donald Sutherland and Michael Madsen confirmed as guests at first edition, running June 6-12 on Paris’ best-known boulevard.

French distributor and exhibitor Sophie Dulac unveiled the first edition of her ambitious, public-focused Champs-Elysées Film Festival on Thursday (April 26), feting American cinema on the famous avenue.

“I have dreamt of putting the Champs Elysées on the cultural map for years. It is the most beautiful, accessible, frequented avenue in Paris,” Dulac, the driving force behind the initiative, said at a presentation on the terrace of the famous Publicis building overlooking the wide boulevard.

As previously announced Harvey Weinstein is confirmed to attend the event, running June 6-12. A selection of films he has backed over the years — ranging from Shakespeare In Love, to The Aviator, to Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 – will be shown.

A gala dinner will be held in Weinstein’s honour on June 6. The next day he will participate in a round-table on French-US co-productions. No formal co-production accord currently exists between the two nations. 

Kill Bill 2 star Michael Madsen has also confirmed his presence as honorary US president of the event, alongside French counterpart Lambert Wilson.

Donald Sutherland, who is set to receive the French Legion d’honneur during his stay in Paris, will also attend to give a masterclass after a screening of Alan J. Pakula’s Klute.

The event’s official selection comprises a competition devoted to American independent film, French previews, a non-competitive American preview section and a foreign-language Oscar submissions sidebar.

The 10 competition titles include Richard Linklater’s Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine-starring dark comedy Bernie, which opens in the US this weekend, and Dennis Lee’s Jesus Henry Christ.

The US preview section, showing eight US titles a few weeks ahead of their French releases, will screen Gabe Torres’ Brake, Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends With Kids and Wes Craven’s My Soul To Take.

In a joint initiative with Poland’s American Film Festival of Warsaw and Black Rabbit Film, the festival will also hold an industry event called US in Progress, aimed at connecting independent American films in post-production with European buyers.

The films selected for the initiative are: Jocelyn Towne’s I Am I, Travis Gutierrez Senger’s Desert Cathedral, Michael Bartlett’s The House Of Last Things and Hannah Fidell’s The Teacher.