Francophone Film Fest adds weekend, two directors visit

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Photo of flier for the Francophone Film Festival.

The festival expands to two weekends in its 13th year.

KALAMAZOO—The Francophone Film Festival of Kalamazoo is celebrating its 13th year this month by adding a second weekend of viewing, offering seven rarely seen, feature-length films from across the globe, two of which will be presented by their award-winning directors.

The annual festival rolls out Friday through Sunday, March 21-23 and 28-30, in Western Michigan University's Little Theatre, where Quebec director, screenwriter and actress Anais Barbeau-Lavalette will present her film "Inch'allah" and Madagascar director and writer Haminiaina Ratovoarivony will present his creation "Malagasy Mankany" ("Legends of Madagascar"). All films are subtitled in English.

"We feature all movies from Francophone culture," says Marjorie Zippert, a WMU French instructor, who has helped put the past two festivals together. "The majority of our movies are from Africa and Quebec, with a few from France and Belgium."

Films will come from such French-speaking countries as Algeria, Congo, the French Caribbean Islands and Tunisia in addition to Belgium, Quebec, Madagascar and France.

Anais Barbeau-Lavalette

Barbeau-Lavalette is the daughter of documentary filmmaker Manon Barbeau and cinematographer Philippe Lavalette and the granddaughter of artist Marcel Barbeau. International audiences know her best for her award-winning "Inch'Allah," released in 2012. An outspoken human rights and international development activist, Barbeau-Lavalette was named artist of the year in 2012 by Les Artistes pour la paix, a Montreal-based organization honoring works of art involving themes of peace. "Inch'Allah" also was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival. Barbeau-Lavalette will present her film at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 21.

Haminiaina Ratovoarivony

Ratovoarivony is gaining momentum as a director who struggles to revive the Malagasy cinema. His first film, "Legends of Madagascar," takes on numerous issues in contemporary Madagascar, including racial tensions between the native population and Indian immigrants, military corruption and the challenge to preserve indigenous traditions amid economic growth. He will present his film at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 30.

In addition to the seven feature-length films, audiences also will enjoy seven short films included in the festival's short film competition.

During the six-day-festival, audience members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite film, adding an interactive element to the festival. By voting for their favorite entry on a card provided at the door, filmgoers will choose the winners of the Golden Kazoo Award—$500 presented to the director of the Best Short and Best Feature films.

For more information, including movie selections, screening schedule and admission prices, visit wmich.edu/fffkazoo.