Le CiNéMa Club: a new free online cinema

January 20, 2016 | By FRENCH CULTURE FILM

Le CiNeMa Club is a new form of online cinema, which presents one film at a time, for one week, for free. Le CiNeMa Club showcases the gems of independent cinema — works by new directors, rare films, and curated documentaries. The sleek and simple website is designed to connect films, filmmakers and their audience.

Films by Antonio Campos, Yann Gonzalez, Sean Durkin, Spike Jonze, Yorgos Lanthimos, Kenneth Anger, Josh & Benny Safdie, Benh Zeitlin, Justine Triet have already been screened on the platform. Le CiNeMa Club is based in Paris and New York but looks at cinema from around the world. Founder and programming director Marie-Louise Khondji’s film selection is based on contemporary film and culture, and there is often a monthly theme. For instance, the January program focuses on the “nouvelle garde française”, featuring short movies by emerging French filmmakers whose debut features have recently been released in France. Le CiNeMa Club also offers lists of films chosen by true cinephiles: the website invites directors, cinematographers, actors and other film lovers to share selection of five films they would show in their own cinema club. Members of the club include Wes Anderson, Joachim Trier, Bertrand Bonello, Yorgos Lanthimos, Pierre Rissient, Alex Ross Perry, Darius Khondji...


"NOUVELLE GARDE FRANCAISE" (January 2016)

Nous ne serons plus jamais seuls, Yann Gonzales, 2012 (Dec 27-Jan 2)
Vilaine fille, Mauvais garçon, Justine Triet, 2012 (Jan 3-9)
Vega, Virgil Vernier, 2014 (Jan 10-16)
Paris Shanghai, Thomas Cailley, 2011 (Jan 17-23)
French Kiss, Antonin Peretjako, 2011 (Jan 24-30)
> The Devil, Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2012 (Jan 31-Feb 6)


INTERVIEW WITH MARIE-LOUISE KHONDJI


How did you get the idea of creating Le CiNeMa Club?

The idea of creating a website dedicated to cinema came to me after I graduated from college. It was there, at Sciences-Po, that I started actively thinking about the idea that the audience was shifting to the new digital screens. In the following years, I attended many film festivals where I discovered films and filmmakers who deserved better exposure. Theatrical distribution was getting more difficult for a lot of films, and these films weren’t necessarily available online. With Le CiNeMa Club, I wanted to create a place online that would honor both the film and the filmmaker that we were presenting, while at the same time welcoming audiences with a simple and friendly format and design (a film each week in just one click). The main goal of Le CiNeMa Club is to recreate online the particular emotion of discovering a film. Everything we do is about getting a maximum number of people to see the film in the best way possible.

Can you describe how you make your film selection and your way of curating?

All kinds of videos and film content exist on the web today.  The first curating decision is to single out works of cinema and invite filmmakers with a distinct cinematic voice and style.  Our aim is to keep the selection fun, surprising, and eclectic  — Le CiNeMa Club often focuses on presenting a new generation of filmmakers, but our selection varies vastly in terms of genre, format, and time period. We are interested in the old as well the new. Some of the films we show are well known to the public, and others are rarities unavailable elsewhere online.

The e-screenings are completely free and the website doesn’t ask for any subscription. How do you convince distributors to broadcast these films?

The purpose of each weekly screening is to highlight a single film. There is only one film presented at a time, so we like to think that the filmmakers and distributors enjoy having their films presented in a way that respects and honors their work. Le CiNeMa Club is meant to be a platform that promotes and publicizes these films online. Often a film we are screening on the site relates to something else that is happening in the world of the filmmaker or distributor -- for instance, if a filmmaker has a feature opening in theaters, we may screen an earlier work by the same filmmaker as a way of promoting the film. In the week following the screening on Le CiNeMa Club, we redirect audiences to where the film can be seen or purchased online, and we maintain archives on the site that do the same as a means of creating a curated online film library with links to buy the films, when available. Le CiNeMa Club is in its very first stages and has plans to develop, but the aim is for the site to always revolve around the core idea of a free online cinema.


Le CiNeMa Club is available on computers, tablets and smartphones, in English and in French, and from all around the world. Join the Club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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