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Colcoa Cancels 2020 Edition, Sets 25th Festival for Fall 2021 (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety — Elsa Keslassy

Colcoa, the Los Angeles-based French film festival, has decided to cancel its 2020 edition due to the continuing health crisis in the U.S.

The next edition, which will mark the festival’s 25th anniversary celebration, will be held from Sept. 20-26, 2021. This year’s festival was initially scheduled to take place in September. Organizers said they would not have been able to guarantee a safe environment by then because of the volatile health situation in the U.S.. Going virtual was considered at some point but was eventually “deemed not compatible with Colcoa,” said the organizers.

A popular showcase for French films and premium drama, Colcoa had a successful 2019 edition which kicked off with the U.S. premiere of Ladj Ly’s Cannes prizewinning police brutality drama “Les Miserables.” Ly and the film’s producers were on hand for the premiere in Los Angeles and the movie went on to earn nominations at the Golden Globes and Oscars.

“This was a difficult decision to make. We explored all possible options. Each festival is distinct and Colcoa, a prestigious and widely publicized event, offers a unique platform to promote French films and series in Hollywood at the beginning of the awards season,” said Jean-Noël Tronc, president of the FACF and managing director of the SACEM. Tronc said the festival traditionally attracts more than 20,000 audience members — including journalists, students, industry professionals and the general public.

François Truffart, the executive producer and programmer of Colcoa, said that while the festival “will integrate new digital tools in each future edition,” it considers, “in line with our colleagues from the Cannes or Locarno Festivals, that screenings in the theaters are fundamentally and symbolically important for all official premieres of a film in Hollywood.”

“This form of public event will remain necessary and popular even after the crisis,” said Truffart. A leading force behind the festival, Truffart said Colcoa also boasts a presence on social media and is committed to continuing to support the promotion of French films and TV series in the U.S.

Colcoa was created and is produced by Franco-American Cultural Fund, a collaboration between the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM) and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW).

The festival was previously scheduled in April but was pushed to September in 2019 because of renovation work at the DGA. The repositioning of the festival in September worked particularly well because it gave filmmakers and distributors the opportunity to launch their movies in Hollywood at the start of the awards season. Besides “Les Miserables,” Coloca played other critically acclaimed movies that had premiered at Cannes, notably Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body” which also went on to earn an Oscar nomination.

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