Weekend Rendez-vous

When I first started at this job, one of my coworkers sent me a stack of films to review – a dozen or so movies that’d come up for release in the next several months. Among them was an unassuming French indie called 2 Autumns, 3 Winters.

It’s a simple enough story – boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy hopes he’s grown-up enough to win girl back. It’s how the story is structured – in vignettes sometimes just moments long, with each of the main characters speaking directly to the camera – and the way it comfortably nestles into pop cultural references that prove endearing to an audience.

But it’s a quirky film, a small film not likely to connect with a mainstream indie audience. Without a robust release planned, the film’s inclusion in this month’s Rendez-vous with French Cinema was a welcome opportunity to put this gem in front of exactly the audience that would appreciate it most. A presentation by Unifrance, the 10-day film series is a celebration of new French film hosted at Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center.

For the occasion of 2 Autumns‘ inclusion in the series, both the director and producer came to NYC – a first trip for them both! – and my week and weekend were quickly caught up in the business of hosting them. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

I spent the week tracking down a few interviews for the director, the publicist portion of my day-to-day taking center stage. With a handful of interviews booked, the filmmakers hunkered down in the office conference room for conversations with a French-American publication, an international podcast and a couple film blogs.

The night before, I’d been at the series’ opening night, the premiere of Catherine Deneuve’s latest On My Way – a Little Miss Sunshine-like road-trip flick with heart about a grandmother with her own issues dealing with her grown daughter’s and grandson’s, too – with the legend herself in attendance. Champagne afterwards with a birds-eye view of the Queensboro Bridge made for a more than OK kick-off for the event.

On Saturday, I met the filmmakers for the first of their two screenings in mid-afternoon, and I didn’t call it a day until nearly 1a.m. In between, we saw the screening sell out; chatted (in broken French and English) over Brooklyn Lagers while the film played; watched a post-show Q&A get live-broadcast across the country; sipped cosmos from the 35th floor of the Mandarin overlooking Columbus Circle; walked up Broadway to a soiree in a 24th-floor penthouse overlooking the Upper West Side where I met, chatted with and gave my email to Julie Taymor; and sipped pisco at Pegu, a club downtown.

By Sunday evening, all I could muster was arriving just in time for the film’s Q&A after the second screening. I bid the filmmakers adieu quite literally – the weekend proved to be a fast lesson in basic French, my few years studying it in college more rusty than I’d realized.

As write-ups and word of mouth around the series grew, it became apparent the film was a hit – enough that it’ll have a limited theatrical run in June before it comes to DVD. And that, dear readers, is a good week(end) at work.