A SCOTTISH-BORN French film festival is set to strengthen the countries’ historic ties and champion cultural connection in the wake of Brexit.

The French Film Festival - which is the UK’s only francophone film festival - will celebrate its 30th anniversary with screenings taking place across the country. 

Thirty-five cinemas across the UK will screen a range of contemporary and classic French cinema throughout November and December, with a special focus on championing female creators. Special guests Charlotte Gainsbourg and Blaindine Lenoir are set to attend. 

The National: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Photograph: French Film FestivalCharlotte Gainsbourg, Photograph: French Film Festival (Image: French Film Festival)

Richard Mowe, the festival's co-creator and director, said: "For three decades the French Film Festival UK has been on a journey to explore the richness and diversity of Francophone cinema and to expand cultural horizons.

“Post-Brexit the event’s sense of purpose in bringing together our French-speaking neighbours from Europe and beyond has become even more acute and essential.

Mowe continued: “The organisers pay tribute to our audiences, sponsors and funders as well as passionate and committed individuals, who every year ensure the festival comes to vibrant life, not only in November and December but also influencing film events throughout the year. Vive le cinéma!"

Beginning in 1992 in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the festival has grown exponentially in scope and stature, as screening will take place from Inverness to Plymouth and an opening night gala at London’s Ciné Lumière in conjunction with the Edinburgh Filmhouse and at the Aberdeen Belmont Filmhouse.

This year the festival’s opening night gala in the Edinburgh Filmhouse will feature Patrice Leconte’s presentation of the UK premiere of Mairgret starring Gerard Depardieu as novelist George Simenon’s iconic detective. 

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The Femmes First strand shines a spotlight on a century of French and francophone women filmmakers, and films focused around contemporary women’s issues. The strand includes short films by pioneer Alice Guy-Blaché, widely considered the first narrative filmmaker back in the 1890s. 

Charlotte Gainsbourg turns the camera on her mother Jane Birkin in Jane by Charlotte - an intimate portrait. Also featured two winners from the Cannes 2022: Rodeo by Lola Quivoron and Moroccan director Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan.

The burgeoning Festival’s Schools and Learning programmes, which attracted a total of 75 schools and reached over 5000 students in 2021, is set to break records this year. The programme involves screenings in cinemas and free shows in the classroom. 

Pupils will have the chance to win prizes in the critics competition in an effort to encourage greater connections with the wider French-speaking community and is supported by the Franco-Scottish Society.