Since 2017, Arnaud de Fontenay has been recognized as the expert of French Cinema by the San Francisco French community. With over twenty years in the French film industry, including roles as CEO of the Foundation Jérôme Seydoux – Pathé and collaborations with Alain Chabat ), he founded his legal consulting firm, Next in Line Pictures, in San Francisco.
His local cinematic contributions include launching the Cinessance streaming platform in 2021, screening over twenty French films with the French American Cultural Society at TLF, and organizing pre-screenings with French Talent USA, highlighted by the French Cinema Days last November.
Recently, Arnaud de Fontenay launched French Premiere to fill the cinematic gap in Northern California, presenting French films a few months after their release in France.
The upcoming months feature compelling films like “La Passion de Dodin Bouffant” (“The Taste of Things“) in January, “Animal Kingdom” in February, “Second Round” in March, and “Goldman Case” in April, totaling 23 French Academy Award nominations (2024 Césars)
“France represents only 0.2% of films screened in U.S. theaters, emphasizing the need to democratize the distribution of French films in the United States.” Arnaud de Fontenay acknowledges the public demand, inspiring the creation of French Premiere to meet the cultural expectations of the French-speaking community.
Aligned with recent local initiatives, French Premiere aims to put San Francisco back on the roadmap for French films and address the disparity between the East and West coasts of the United States. “San Francisco, despite its cultural richness, is often overlooked for larger cities on the East Coast, more accessible from France.”
Initially, French Premiere will showcase films at the 4Star Theater in San Francisco and Aquarius in Palo Alto, with plans to expand to more cities based on audience response. The meticulous selection of successful and award-winning films reflects their commitment to quality. Their cinephile approach aims to bring back audiences to theaters, recognizing the incomparable collective experience of cinema.
French Premiere plans to present ten films annually, with a summer break.
Arnaud de Fontenay hopes French Premiere revives enthusiasm for theaters, and the initial success of “La Passion de Dodin Bouffant” in Palo Alto confirms it. Limited seats remain in San Francisco on January 25th.
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