Cinema Francais on Display at Festival

Cheyenne Cole
Staff Writer

Cameron University’s International Film Club, The Magic Lantern Film Society, Phi Sigma Iota and Sigma Tau Delta hosted the third annual French Film Festival from Aug. 18-20 and Aug. 25-27 in the University Theatre.

The free festival consisted of six nights of French films with English subtitles.

Thirty-five local businesses promoted the festival, and restaurants, including Lawton Country Club, The Percolator and The Silver Spoon, offered French dishes during the festival.

Festival director and Associate Professor of French and Spanish Marie-Ginette Baillargeon said the themes of the featured films at the festival transcend borders.

“Whether you’re American, French, English, German or Chinese,” Baillargeon said “there is a family dynamic of raising children, of growing up and relating within your community. The culture might be different, but the audience still understands.”

Baillargeon said Vice President of the International Film Club and public relations senior Elizabeth Horman helped coordinate the festival and decided that the film series should be split into three parts.

“I think that idea was a real spark of genius,” Baillargeon said. “Thursday nights are date night, Friday nights are family night and Saturday nights are for mature audiences. The truth is any student or mature person would like these films.”

Horman, who has taken French language courses since she was 14 years old and watched foreign films since she was 11, said the International Film Club selected the films for the festival during their meetings.

“The process can be complicated,” Horman said. “When we consider a film for the festival, we have to keep in mind that the audience may not be interested in foreign language or culture and put ourselves in their place of possibly never having seen a foreign film.”

Months of planning went into the festival as the committee struggled early to obtain the rights to play the films at the festival. Baillargeon traveled to France to obtain the rights to screen the 2014 live-action Beauty and the Beast movie at the festival, which will not be released in the United States until Sept. 23.

According to Baillargeon, festival attendance has doubled since the first festival, and the feedback audience members provided was overwhelmingly positive. She attributes the festival’s success to the audience’s ability to experience other cultures without the need to travel.

For Horman, the festival provided a place for people to connect and share their experiences.

“The Lawton community and Cameron student body are both very diverse,” Horman said. “The festival films can expose the community to a different culture, and they tap into a lot of very real emotions that anyone can relate to.”

For more information about the festival, visit Cameron University’s French Film Festival Facebook page. Students interested in the International Film Club can attend their first meeting at 3:30 p.m., Oct. 5, on the second floor of Nance-Boyer.

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