Burning Brighter:
New Voices in French Cinema 2021

In-Person Weekend in NYC
Friday, October 1–Sunday, October 3
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Online Nationwide
Sunday, October 3–Sunday, October 10
On Eventive

FIAF is proud to present a new festival celebrating the remarkable diversity of emerging voices in French cinema. The festival showcases recent prize-winning films by new French filmmakers.

The new generation of French cinema promises to be more inclusive and reflective of today’s society. It introduces new narratives and turns its lens on faces and places that are rarely seen on screen. The films featured at Burning Brighter—13 of them US or NY premieres—include stories of daily struggles, hard-won redemption, sexual oppression, identity, and belonging. Tracing their heritage from Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Morocco, Guadeloupe, Lebanon, and France, these filmmakers bring a burst of new energy to FIAF’s fall reopening.

A full weekend in New York from Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 3 at FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall will feature six feature films, six shorts, one blockbuster TV series, exclusive director Q&As, and a roundtable discussion. The festival will continue online from Sunday, October 3 to Sunday, October 10 with five additional films and a program of shorts available to stream nationwide.

Conceived with The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, this festival highlights the critical importance of the arts in exploring the perspectives of different communities. The festival is co-curated by Claire Diao, member of the Directors’ Fortnight Selection Committee at the Cannes Film Festival, and Delphine Selles-Alvarez, FIAF’s Film Curator.

Curator’s Note


“Born in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the filmmakers of Burning Brighter come from multicultural families of diverse origins. They were brought up watching American films in which they saw their cultures and backgrounds represented. They haven’t necessarily studied cinema, and can’t rely on personal connections within the industry. They have important things to say, but cannot relate to the way that French cinema has historically portrayed their experiences.

These filmmakers, who represent a Double Vague, or “Double Wave” in French cinema, write screenplays, wield cameras, and create films that reflect the multicultural nature of contemporary French society.”

— Claire Diao

Video: Festival Highlights



In Person at FIAF: Friday, October 1


Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Skies of Lebanon

Sous le ciel d'Alice
Friday, October 1, 2021
7pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Festival Opening Night Party at 8:30pm

Dir. Chloé Mazlo, 2020
In French, Arabic and Italian with English subtitles

Chloé Mazlo’s first feature is a strikingly original film set in the 1950s and inspired by her family’s life in the years leading into the Lebanese Civil War.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
TV Series

All the Way Up

Validé
North American Premiere
Friday, October 1, 2021
9:30pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Festival Opening Night Party at 8:30pm

Dir. Franck Gastambide, Charles Van Tieghem, Xavier Lacaille, 2020
In French with English subtitles

All the Way Up takes us into the world of French hip-hop through the journey of Clément (played by French musician Hatik), a talented young rapper with a difficult personal history.


In Person at FIAF: Saturday, October 2


Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Simply Black

Tout simplement Noir
North American Premiere
Saturday, October 2, 2021
2pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Dir. Jean-Pascal Zadi and John Wax, 2020
In French with English subtitles

This corrosive comedy tackles the timely topics of racism and coalition building with a good dose of self-deprecation.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Talk

Roundtable: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in French and American Cinema

Saturday, October 2, 2021
4pm
Livestreamed In Person and Online • In English
FIAF Tinker Auditorium

In this roundtable discussion, a panel of French and American filmmakers, producers, and talent managers will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in the film industries of both countries.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Shorts

Shorts Program 1

Freed - So What If the Goats Die - Blooming Dalia
Saturday, October 2, 2021
5:30pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Introduction by Holy Fatma

This program offers a selection of shorts from a variety of cinematographic genres. We start with a thought-provoking drama that brings to light the harsh reality of violence in prison (Freed), then continue onto a mysterious and thrilling science-fiction film (So What If the Goats Die), before concluding with a light comedy about a forgotten reality-TV star (Blooming Dalia).

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

A Brighter Tomorrow

De bas étage
North American Premiere
Saturday, October 2, 2021
7:30pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Video introduction by Yassine Qnia

Dir. Yassine Qnia, 2021
In French with English subtitles

Mehdi (Soufiane Guerrab of Lupin), is a small-time safe cracker who’s finding robberies aren’t paying like they used to.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Blind Spot

L'Angle mort
North American Premiere
Saturday, October 2, 2021
9:45pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Dir. Patrick-Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic, 2019
In French with English subtitles

Dominick Brassan has the power to turn invisible but rarely uses it. Instead, he keeps it a shameful secret, even from his fiancée, Viveka.


In Person at FIAF: Sunday, October 3


Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

School Life

La Vie scolaire
Sunday, October 3, 2021
2pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Dir. Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir, 2019
In French with English subtitles

Idealistic young educator Samia has taken a new assignment in a difficult middle school in the Paris suburbs.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Shorts

Shorts Program 2

Get Lost - Your Kid - The Loyal Man
Sunday, October 3, 2021
5pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Video introduction by Romuald Rodrigues Andrade and Lawrence Valin

Closing Night Party at 6:15pm

The films in this program reflect the difficulty of choosing one’s life path—until a plan imposes itself. This might come in the form of an unexpected transition to fatherhood (Timoun Aw), a dreamed-of professional opportunity (Get Lost), or a cryptic chance meeting (The Loyal Man).

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Red Soil

Rouge
Sunday, October 3, 2021
7pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Closing Night Party at 6:15pm

Dir. Farid Bentoumi, 2020
In French with English subtitles

After losing her job at a hospital emergency room, Nour Hamadi (Zita Hanrot) returns to her hometown, taking a position as a nurse at the chemical plant where her father Slimane (Sami Bouajila) has worked for 30 years.


Online: Sunday, October 3–Sunday, October 10


Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Arab Blues

Un Divan à Tunis
New York Premiere
Sunday, October 3—Sunday, October 10, 2021
Online on Eventive

Dir. Manele Labidi, 2019
In French and Arabic with English subtitles

Selma (Golshifteh Farahani), a 35-year-old psychoanalyst, decides to return from France to her native Tunisia to improve the mental health of her compatriots.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Night Ride

La Nuit venue
North American Premiere
Sunday, October 3—Sunday, October 10, 2021
Online on Eventive

Dir. Frédéric Farrucci, 2019
In French with English subtitles

Jin drives an illegal taxi for the Chinese Triads, with dreams of becoming a DJ. He meets Naomi (played by French pop singer Camélia Jordana), a troubled sex worker who makes him her private chauffeur.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Documentary Feature

Leave?

Partir ?
US Premiere
Sunday, October 3—Sunday, October 10, 2021
Online on Eventive

Dir. Mary-Noël Niba, 2019
In French, English, and Pidjin with English subtitles

In this documentary film, director Mary-Noël Niba paints a sobering and poignant picture of the reality facing migrants who hope to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Should the Wind Drop

Si le vent tombe
Sunday, October 3—Sunday, October 10, 2021
Online on Eventive

Q&A with Nora Martirosyan and Julie Paratian

Dir. Nora Martirosyan, 2020
In French, Armenian, English, Russian with English subtitles

French auditor Alain Delage (Grégoire Colin, in tour-de-force performance) arrives in the war-torn South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh to study the feasibility of a new airport.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Feature Film

Simply Black

Tout simplement Noir
North American Premiere
Sunday, October 3—Sunday, October 10, 2021
Online on Eventive

Dir. Jean-Pascal Zadi and John Wax, 2020
In French with English subtitles

This corrosive comedy tackles the timely topics of racism and coalition building with a good dose of self-deprecation.

Burning Brighter Film Festival 2021
Shorts

Shorts Program 3

Blaké - Mama Lova - So What If the Goats Die
Sunday, October 3—Sunday, October 10, 2021
Online on Eventive

Video introduction by Vincent Fontano and Jeff Taver

The shorts in this online program provide unexpected plot twists and stylistic turns. Mama Lova portrays a grieving mother managing a devastating loss; So What If the Goats Die mixes genres as it builds toward a surprise finale; and the experimental Blaké turns the mundane (an overnight shift of two security guards) into visual poetry.

Burning Brighter: New Voices in French Cinema 2021 is made possible by the generous support of The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations.

Skies of Lebanon, Should the Wind Drop, and Red Soil are part of Young French Cinema, a program of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.