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Johanna Thomas from STUDIOCANAL collecting their award with Patricia Connell and Jon Davies

Dheepan crowned London's Favourite French Film 2016

By Manon Variol

Champagne and prizes galore at gala awards evening

On 22 September, over 300 guests, forming a cosmopolitan gathering of members of the French community, London's numerous francophiles and cinema lovers were at the brand new Picturehouse Central to celebrate together the best of French cinema with the best of French champagne, wine and food.
London’s Favourite French Film 2016 was about to be revealed during this 12th Edition of an event which has become a vibrant part of the French cultural scene in London.

Which film was going to win the crown? A film already celebrated by critics or one that only Londoners could have picked ? People made their predictions and strongly supported their favourite films. As many as 33 films in the running and only one winner: a difficult task for the four thousand cinema lovers who voted online for the films they liked best.

Photo : Clara MILL


The event, under the patronage of the French Ambassador, began with a lively reception with free-flowing champagne and a delicous variety of canapés. After the awards ceremony and screening guests returned to yet more wonderful French food and drink and danced the rest of the evening away to the music of DJ Sacha Dieu.

I like French cinema because it is a cinema of ideas. It is a tradition in French culture of taking ideas seriously. There are not that many cinemas in the world that can do that as well

Graham Jameson

The French Consul Mrs Sylvaine Carta-Le Vert highlighted the meaning of such an event:

"There are in the UK experts about classic French cinema and a real curiosity for today's films. Cinema is a large part of French culture and this kind of event helps boost this industry."

Many people attended the ceremony, such as the Senator of the French living abroad Mr. Olivier Cadic, Mrs Florence Gomez, managing director of the French Chamber of Commerce and the Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc.

The film of the year

Then came the long-awaited moment: the award ceremony hosted by Patricia Connell, CEO of FranceInLondon, and Jon Davies. For weeks, our readers have voted for their favourite film amongst 33 names, all released during the last year. So who won the prize?

Drum roll…

Dheepan, by Jacques Audiard, and distributed by STUDIOCANAL, was named London’s Favourite French Film. This touching story shows the struggle of Sri Lankan migrants who flee the civil war to ghead for France. The runners-up were La Famille Bélier by Eric Lartigau and Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven (respectively distributed by eOne and Curzon Artificial Eye). Distributors representatives received the prizes to the warm applause of the audience.

Johanna Thomas, representing STUDIOCANAL, received the London's Favourite French Film award for Dheepan
Johanna Thomas, representing STUDIOCANAL,
received the London's Favourite French Film award for Dheepan

Top 10 of 2016 films

Danny James, from Curzon Artificial Eye,  received the 3rd prize for the film Mustang
Danny James, from Curzon Artificial Eye,
received the 3rd prize for the film Mustang

1. Dheepan - Jacques Audiard / STUDIOCANAL

2. La Famille Bélier - Eric Lartigau / eOne

3. Mustang - Deniz Gamze Ergüven / Curzon Artificial Eye

4. Marguerite - Xavier Giannoli / PIcturehouse Entertainment

5. Mon Roi - Maïwenn / STUDIOCANAL

6. A Bigger Splash - Luca Guadagnino / STUDIOCANAL

7. Hitchcock / Truffaut - Kent Jones / Dogwoof

8. The Brand New Testament (Le Tout Nouveau Testament) - Jaco Van Dormael / Filmbankmedia

9. Gemma Bovery - Anne Fontaine / Soda Pictures

10. Salt of the Earth (Le Sel de la Terre) - Wim Wenders / BFI Distribution

A charity night

More than just paying tribute to French cinema, the ceremony’s aim was to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. The objective was to raise £3,000 by selling tickets for a prize draw. The lucky winners received Champs-Elysées Christmas ornaments from Lalique, a romantic night for two in one of Relais & Châteaux luxurious properties, a 1-hour massage and facial treatment from Caudalie, a Maille Premium box with mustard and vinegar bottles, and a Mouton Cadet red wine magnum.

The event is a significant support to Cancer Research UK. “We have made enormous progress in the fight against cancer,” Natalia Zukowska, local fundraising manager, stated. “However, we have only been able to do this thanks to the dedication and commitment of our supporters like those at London’s Favourite French Film without whom we would not be able to fund our research”.

On this occasion, FranceInLondon also screened the much-praised short film Victoire by Benjamin Rancoule, which delivers a touching message about the fight against cancer.

One Man and His Cow, the UK premiere for a film which delighted audiences in France

French cinema could not be celebrated without screening a film from France. This year, the audience discovered the film One Man and His Cow, a happy road-movie between Algeria and Paris. The director Mohamed Hamidi was there to talk about his film and answer people’s questions. The audience loved the film about the friendship story between a farmer and his cow Jacqueline and applauded the director warmly. We are sure that British audiences will love this delightful film if it can attract the wider distribution it deserves. The film was a hit not just in France but in many other countries so why not the UK?

Photo : Clara MILL

Many prizes for our readers

Four of our readers won wonderful prizes thanks to their vote for their favourite French film. The luckiest won a 7-night all-inclusive holiday for 2 in one of Club Med’s Sun Resorts. The second prize was a weekend stay in a luxury studio in the heart of Bordeaux offered by The Luxury Travel Book. The cosmetic brand EviDenS de Beauté offered an Extreme Cream to the 3rd winner. Last but not least, the 4th prize was a 3-course meal for 2 with a glass of champagne at The Balcon, in Sofitel St James. 


29/09/2016 - henriettafoster said :

My favourite film did not win but still what a fabulous evening - so thoughtfully planned down to the last possible detail. Wonderful new film, delicious food, indulgent goody bag and marvellous company. Bravo!


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