Free Film Festival in NYC by Films on the Green

Films on the Green 2017 Announces Special 10th Anniversary Line-Up With Guest Curators Including Wes Anderson, James Ivory, Wanda Sykes, Laurie Anderson

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Films on the Green, the free outdoor French film festival produced annually in New York City parks by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE Foundation and NYC Parks.

Launched in small community gardens of lower Manhattan in 2008, Films on the Green now holds free screenings in French with English subtitles at parks throughout the city, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Washington Square Park to Upper Manhattan. Since its inception, the festival has sought to reach a broad range of communities and neighborhoods with classic and contemporary French films. With this in mind, the 2017 edition will add a special screening in French with Spanish subtitles: The Science of Sleep, directed by Michel Gondry and starring Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, will be projected at J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights. Presented in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, the initiative aims to bring the best of French cinema to the dynamic and growing Spanish-speaking community in Manhattan.

In its landmark 10th year, Films on the Green will present French cinema through the eyes of 10 guest curators and some of the most creative and compelling filmmakers, actors, and artists of our time: Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, James Ivory, Saul Williams, Isabella Rossellini, Wanda Sykes, Laurie Anderson, Matthew Weiner, Matías Piñeiro, and Amy Hargreaves.

Kicking off the Festival on June 2nd, comedian and actress Wanda Sykes will share her “love [of] satire and stories with strong female leads” by presenting Francois Ozon’s lighthearted comedy, Potiche (Trophy Wife) in Central Park. Then, from classics like François Truffaut’s The Wild Child, a favorite of director James Ivory who thinks the film “brings out […] all the classic values of the best French art,” to the French-Senegalese drama Tey (Today) by Alain Gomis, selected by poet and performer Saul Williams, who stars this movie, the chosen features will reflect the diversity of perspectives of the curators who chose them.

Each curator has selected a film that has in some way deeply influenced them or their work. For example, Director Wes Anderson chose Mauvais Sang by Leos Carax because, in his words, it “cast a powerfully strong spell over [him]” the first time he saw it. Creator of the series Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, selected La Cérémonie by Claude Chabrol, which he considers “an unnerving mixture of kindness and evil” with “unforgettable social commentary.” Actress, filmmaker and author Isabella Rossellini selected Elena and Her Men by Jean Renoir, which stars her mother Ingrid Bergman. In this film, Rossellini states, Renoir manages to “capture an aspect of [her] mother who [she] adored and often was not put forward in other films.”

Some of the guest curators took the outdoor setting or the context of a French film festival into account in their choice of film. Argentinian director Matías Piñeiro described the beautiful impact that Jean Grémillon’s Lumière d’été would have “once the summer lights of the city dim down” in the park. Writer, director and visual artist Laurie Anderson selected Marcel Carné’s Port of Shadows for its “amazing glistening cinematography and beautiful dialogue”. Amy Hargreaves of 13 Reasons Why, chose La Traversée de Paris by Autant-Lara because “it is at times hilarious and heartbreaking, and through the duo’s courage and cunning we find a window into the lives of two very different French worlds.”

Director Jim Jarmusch selected Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt for its “mesmerizing cast,” which includes Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot. Many other great French actors will be featured throughout the 2017 program, from Isabelle Huppert to Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Jean Gabin, and Juliette Binoche, among others.

Eleven screenings in total are scheduled for this year’s festival. Most of the screenings will be accompanied by DJs from New York University’s radio station, WNYU 89.1 FM and Hunter College’s WHCS, who will spin French music on-site before the screenings.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE Foundation and NYC Parks would like to thank Films on the Green’s 2017 lead sponsor, Le Petit Marseillais™, and the festival’s 2017 official sponsors, Air France, Atout France-France Tourism Development Agency, BNP Paribas, JC Decaux, and TV5 Monde.


All films are in French with English subtitles, except for the film that will be screened on July 12th, which is in French and English with Spanish subtitles.
Screenings begin at sunset.

July 14 – Tompkins Sq. Park: Port of Shadows by Carné, selected by Laurie Anderson
July 21 – Riverside Park, Pier I (at 70th St): Lumière d’été by Grémillon, selected by Matías Piñeiro
July 28 – Riverside Park, Pier I (at 70th St): A Trip to the Moon by Méliès followed by Elena and Her Men by Renoir, selected by Isabella Rossellini
Sept. 7 – Columbia University (at 116th St): The Wild Child by Truffaut, selected by James Ivory, presented in partnership with the Columbia Maison Française

July 12 – J. Hood Wright Park (West 173th St): The Science of Sleep by Gondry (2006), presented in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York (screening in French and English with Spanish subtitles).

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