Chinese platforms Youku and Tudou registered 3.5m screenings for the online film festival.

The fourth edition of Unifrance’s — running Jan 17 to Feb 17 — more than quadrupled its viewing figures this year.

French cinema export agency Unifrance, which organises the event, reported that the online film festival generated 4 million screenings, against 750,000 in 2013 and 1.3m in 2012.

The month-long initiative - featuring 10 features and 10 shorts which have not been widely sold internationally - ran on 20 partner platforms as well as the dedicated MyFrenchFilmFestival site, which attracted some 100,000 subscribers this year.

The leap in hits was due in large part to increased viewing in China where online platforms Youku and Tudou reported 3.5m screenings for the event between them.

A surprise drop in viewings last year was pinned at the time to ownership changes at Youku just before the 2013 edition which had resulted in less visibility on the site.

Unifrance noted that short film In Seventh Heaven (7ème ciel), about a homophobic man coming to terms with his homosexuality, clocked up 2.5m screenings alone. Alice Winocour’s period 19th century period drama Augustine generated 350,000 viewings in China.

The other top territories included Poland, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

In territories where access to the festival was paying, such as the UK, the number of rentals also rose to 46,000 from 38,000 in 2013. Unifrance said iTunes downloads had doubled.

This year’s edition was also accompanied by 550 theatrical screenings in the US and Russia alongside the online event through a partnership with Specticast. The Institut Francais network also organised theatrical screenings in several of its branches around the world.

The festival’s international directors prize, decided by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marco Bellocchio, Anurag Kashyap and Frédéric Fonteyne, went to Mariage a Mendoza by Edouard Deluc.  

The public prize, based on 30,000 oneline votes, was awarded to Samuel Collardey’s Little Lion in the features category and Amélie Harrault’s short Mademoiselle Kiki and the Montparnos.

Namir Abdel Messeeh’s The Virgin, the Copts and Me and Xavier Legrand’s short Just Before Losing Everything won the international press prizes and the social networks awards went to Louis-Do de Lencquesaing’s In a Rush and Michael Guerraz’ short Clay.