Sacramento French Film Festival expands in 15th year

The 15th annual Sacramento French Film Festival returns June 17-26 with award-winning films and a new expansion into the Esquire IMAX Theatre.

The latter is particularly exciting for festival director Cécile Downes, who said SFFF has struggled to bring all of the films it wants in the past. That’s because the Crest Theatre, the long-time home for the festival, isn’t equipped with a specific digital projection system that’s preferred by many French distributors.

While most of this year’s festival remains at the Crest (1013 K Street), there will be three films shown at the nearby Esquire (1211 K Street): One Man and his Cow, this year’s hit comedy in France; Tomorrow, which won the 2016 César for Best Documentary; and Much Loved, a drama about sex workers set and subsequently banned in Morocco.

SFFF opens on Friday, June 17 with Fatima (pictured), which follows the struggles of three immigrant women trying to adapt to French society. It won three César awards this year, including for Best Film. Immediately after the film, there will be an opening night reception at the Grand Capitol Plaza Ballroom (1025 Ninth Street) with an open bar and bites from Brasserie Capitale, Cafe Rollé, Hawks Public House, Kru and other local restaurants.The festival will close Sunday, June 26 with Margueritte, a comedy about a rich, beloved opera singer who actually sings horribly off-key. It won four César awards, including Best Actress for Catherine Frost’s lead performance. A party follows in the Crest’s lobby, with cake, coffee and sparkling wine.

And in between? An additional 15 films—both new and old—spread out across both weekends. That includes the always-popular late-night screenings, which promise to be extra exciting this year. Saturday, June 18 will see the violent French Blood, while Saturday, June 25 will see the highly sexual Je T’aime Moi Non Plus. Of particular note is Made in France, a terrorism thriller filmed before the Charlie Hedbo attacks in Paris, shown on Saturday, June 25. It was never released in French theaters.

Ticket prices vary, starting at $12 for an individual screening—except opening night, which costs $53; closing night, which costs $17 and IMAX screenings, which cost $15. You can also get weekend passes and full festival passes and other combos, which range from $37 to $93.50. Check out the full program here, though exact times have yet to be announced.

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