1975: BIRTH OF THE AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

In 1975, the American Film Festival was still an abstraction, a concept, an idea in the air…
There was nothing to suggest that Deauville would become a cinema hot spot, even though it had been under the spotlight since 1966 with Claude Lelouch’s film titled “A man and a woman”.

In fact, in 1975, about fifty films had already been shot in Deauville since 1950, including Le Baron de l’Ecluse by Jean Delannoy with Jean Gabin, Micheline Presle in 1959 and Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Roger Vadim with Gérard Philippe, Jeanne Moreau, JL Trintignant in 1959.
When André Halimi and Lionel Chouchan had the idea of creating the festival, they thought about three potential cities to host the festival. Considerable interest for this project came from the former Mayor of Deauville, Michel d’Ornano. With strength of conviction, they obtained the support of Lucien Barrière, CEO of the Group bearing his name. André Halimi and Lionel Chouchan wanted to fulfill their passion, Michel d’Ornano and Lucien Barrière were looking for a way of attracting tourists beyond the racecourse season. Through this collaboration, the American Film Festival was launched in September 1975.

 

For 20 years the only ambition of the Deauville Film Festival, exclusively focused on film discovery, was being the showcase of American films, without other competitors. From the beginning, that was the condition established by the major American companies to provide their films. (September 4th, 1992: opening of the International Centre of Deauville to celebrate the 18th edition of the festival.) In 1995, the festival introduced a palmarès but the exclusive competitors were independent films.
Today, one of the objectives of the festival is contributing to the dissemination and promotion on the European market of unreleased American films, produced independently. Another objective of the festival is celebrating the great American cinema of the past through reviews, tributes or carte blanche to the film protagonists of the other side of the Atlantic.