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La Rochelle International Film Festival

Dear friends,

For several days now, we’ve been expecting the news yet keeping a glimmer of hope alive that the Festival La Rochelle Cinéma would be maintained. Stanislas Bouvier, our poster painter for the past thirty years, had just presented the second part of his diptych, opening up a promising horizon that helped us to believe in a happier outcome.

As of last evening, the date of the official announcement of the prohibition of all events until mid-July, we have no other choice but to cancel, with immense sadness, this forty-eighth edition.

Many of you have already experienced such incredibly difficult moments when renunciation becomes mandatory and we share this feeling of desolation.

Our team has been organising this long-awaited event for months. We were preparing a beautiful programme for you (with over one hundred films from across the globe already reserved), part of which will be postponed until next year.

We are thinking of all of our staff, who invest their time and energy each summer by our side; the members of the board of directors who support us year-round; the filmmakers commissioned by the Festival who have been shooting in and around La Rochelle in recent weeks and those who had accepted our invitation for early July; the distributors who wanted to present beautiful films as exclusive previews; the authors who have been writing the texts for the catalogue; the critics who have been preparing their intervention for the Parcours Rossellini and the public events; all of our partners – public or private – who have supported us for many years and those who were joining us for the first time.

Above all, we are thinking of the many festivalgoers, ever faithful to the event, who so enjoy celebrating cinema in La Rochelle, at the start of summer.

We sincerely hope to see you all again in July 2021.

In the meantime, we are working on various events that should enable us to meet again by virtual means from June 26 to July 5 and in autumn in the cinemas and partner locations of the Festival.

The rest of this 2020 year is shaping up to be complicated and highly uncertain.
We must get through this collective trial together and stay supportive of the cultural sector, particularly cinemas, which will remain shut until at least mid-July and which, by and large, will experience major difficulties.

We hope that the authorities will lend massive support to the cultural world. How could we bear these two months of confinement without films, books, music, and all forms of artworks?

Culture is a core necessity and France remains the land of the seventh art – wildly popular here – and we must do all we can to safeguard this thirst for film.

Since festivals remain the kinds of collective forums that are sorely lacking at present, let’s start dreaming of our next events and of packed cinemas now!

See you soon.

The FEMA team

Sophie Mirouze & Arnaud Dumatin, Sylvie Pras, Anne-Charlotte Girault