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Dinged by the weather, a film festival gets a boost from technology

April 27, 2010 |  1:40 pm

Film festivals may not necessarily want to hold it up as a template, but as a MacGyver-like solution, you have to hand it to City of Lights, City of Angels, the French-flavored film festival that wrapped Sunday in Los Angeles.

When Pascal Chaumeil, the director of festival opening-night picture "Heartbreaker," was grounded in Europe because of the ash-spewing Icelandic volcano last week, organizers wondered how they could get him here. Then they took out the masking tape and chewing gum.

Festival programmers decided to Skype in Chaumeil, who then proceeded to hold a question-and-answer session with attendees in the DGA theater. The film maker chatted with festgoers who had come to see the romantic dramedy, which stars Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis in a love triangle of sorts.
As COLCOA director Francois Truffart jokes, "Maybe now we should do all our premieres with Skype."

About 15,000 people attended this year's festival, organizers said, with films such as upcoming Weinstein Co. release "The Concert," starring "Inglourious Basterds" heroine Melanie Laurent, making their debut. Organizers this year also promoted the festival on Facebook and Twitter. They used the technology to attract younger audiences, a move they say they aim to replicate next year. The Skype, they're hoping, will be a one-time thing.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Vanessa Paradis and Romain Duris in "Heartbreaker." Photo: Universal Pictures France

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