Films on the Green 2017 Opening Night

June 13, 2017 | By French Culture

On Friday, June 2, 2017, Deputy Cultural Counselor Thomas Michelon welcomed guests to the opening night cocktail reception for the 10th edition of Films on the Green Festival, the free outdoor French film festival produced by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York. The reception was followed by a screening of François Ozon's Potiche in Central Park.

Hello everybody,

It’s a pleasure to be here with you tonight! 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Films on the Green, the free outdoor French film festival produced by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the FACE Foundation, and New York City Parks. With an entire decade of such rewarding, hard work and close collaboration behind us, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to New York City Parks for being such a big part of this journey and our dear friend William Castro.

And it has been quite the journey—since its debut in 2008 in small community gardens in Manhattan, the festival has only grown, adding new venues and attracting even more moviegoers each year. The 10 screenings we presented last year gathered more than 5,000 film lovers at 6 different locations, including Central Park, and even the Columbia University Campus, thanks to the Columbia Maison Française.

Films on the Green was imagined as a free community-oriented initiative, meant to bring together people of all backgrounds through their common love for cinema, in the wonderful atmosphere of New York City parks on warm summer nights. Each year we strive to provide a diverse, high-quality film selection that will be accessible and appeal to the young audiences of all 5 boroughs.

This year, to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary, we have chosen to go a different route, paying homage to the central place French and francophone cinema holds in the hearts of directors, actors, and comedians in the United States. Ten of the most creative minds in the entertainment industry have each selected one of their favorite French films for our summer program. We are fortunate to have an amazing list of curators this summer—Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, James Ivory, Saul Williams, Isabella Rossellini, Wanda Sykes, Laurie Anderson, Matthew Weiner, Matías Piñeiro, and Amy Hargreaves.

Welcome to Wanda Sykes, James Ivory and Amy Hargreaves who are with us tonight!

Their individual selections include great classics, such as Godard’s Contempt and Truffaut’s The Wild Child, as well as stunning contemporary films such as the French-Senegalese drama Tey by Alain Gomis. Whether you here because of your love for Catherine Deneuve, or Brigitte Bardot, or because you are curious about French cinema but know nothing about it, there will be something for you.

In this spirit of inclusiveness and accessibility, we have partnered with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York to present a film with Spanish subtitles, La Ciencia Del Sueno (The Science of Sleep) by Michel Gondry. We hope this will enable the festival to reach new audiences from the eclectic, cinema-loving Hispanic and Hispanophone community of New York.

Let us now get back to the reason we are here tonight, for the opening of Films on the Green, with the screening of comedy “Potiche” (Trophy Wife) by François Ozon. It was chosen by hilarious stand-up comedian and actress, Wanda Sykes, who is here with us tonight.

I would like to take the time to thank all of our supporters without whom Films on the Green would not have been possible.

Firstly, I would like to thank Le Petit Marseillais for lending invaluable support to this year’s edition of Films on the Green, and for spoiling us with their wonderful products in our gift bags, which were artfully designed by agnès b. Don’t forget to pick one up on your way to Central Park!

We are also so very grateful to our official sponsors, Air France, the Atout France-France Tourism Development Agency, BNP Paribas, JC Decaux and TV5 Monde, as well as our friends, Nora Coblence and Frederic C. Weiss, who were all an integral part of the journey.

I would also like to thank Maman NYC and Pommery for providing the delicious food and drinks tonight.

Finally, a huge thank you to the DJs from WNYU and WHCS for their music – it is just what we need to celebrate the start of what is sure to be a great summer! And of course, what is a successful screening without an audience to appreciate it? It is such a pleasure to see so many of you here tonight, so thank you! On this note, I leave the floor to William Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner.