It’s Paris in April at Filmfest, Washington’s International Film Festival

D.C.’s 21st annual International Film Festival will kick off Thursday, April 19 at 6 p.m. at the Historic Lincoln Center with its opening night gala that will feature La Vie en Rose, the new film focusing on the life of French actress Edith Piaf.

“Filmfest DC features films that you might not otherwise see and appreciate. ‘Viola Cinema,’ a series of new films from France is this year’s geographical focus,” said Anthony Gittens, Director of the film festival.

The festival will close with the film Paris, jet’ aime, a movie where 20 notable filmmakers will use their signature styles to show various portrayals of the glamorous Paris lifestyle. The movie will feature well-known movie names such as Elijah Wood, Natalie Portman, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, and Alexander Payne. This will be introduced by French star Fanny Ardant on April 29 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gallery Place regal Cinemas.

According to Gittens, the festival was created through working with the Embassy of France and includes a selection of films that “reflect the current state of one of the longest and most respected cinemas in the world.”

Gittens added that new to the festival will be the ‘Views from the News’ section that will present films placing us behind today’s headlines and giving us human perspectives into major events.

Helen Fay, 44, says she loves attending film festivals, but has not had the chance in the past years to experience one on an international level.

“I know my daughter is taking French in school, so I think it’d be a great weekend family thing to go down there and checkout some of the films,” Fay said. “I’m always up for expanding horizons.”

Fay and her daughter will also get a chance to see other French cinema hits like The Ax, from acclaimed director Costa-Gavras and Private Fears in Public Places.

Others planning to attend the festival are looking forward to some of the American premieres.

“I want to go and see the films What a Wonderful World and Bunny Chow,” said Kristine Dumas, a George Washington University student with a film concentration. “I’m especially excited to hear from the producer of The Wire because it’s one of my favorite shows.”

Advance tickets for the festival went on sale April 6. Tickets for most screenings are $9 each and can be purchased at www.tickets.com.

Major sponsors for the event include DC Commission on the Arts, The Donohoe Companies, Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC office of motion picture and art television development, and the Washington, DC Film Society.