Thirty years after its creation, the Angers Premiers Plans festival, which celebrates the early films of european directors, has earned a reputation as a discoverer of talent in a universe traditionally turned to the stars. This year an exceptional homage will be rendered to the general director, franco-Greek, Costa-Gavras, the current president of the Cinémathèque française.

Chaired by Cédric Kahn, the 31st edition of the festival, which takes place from 25 January to 3 February, will be screening nearly 100 films among the approximately 2,500 received, of which 80 compete in 6 categories.

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“When we launched the festival, it was a risky bet. Invite filmmakers often unknown to come and present the early films that are not necessarily masterpieces and do not necessarily have a huge market, it is bound to be complicated,” says Claude-Eric Poiroux, the general delegate and the founder of the festival.

With 86.000 entries last year in a city of 150,000 inhabitants, the film festival “the unknown” has yet found its public. Arnaud Desplechin, François Ozon, Paolo Sorrentino, Fatih Akin and Peter Mullan are among the dozens of directors discovered in Angers. “When they came, nobody knew who they were. It is in the field of the unknown, but it is also the engine for the spectators who really like also the next festive event,” said Mr. Poiroux, to which “beyond the star system, everyone in the profession pays special attention to young filmmakers who are coming”.

When he learned of the selection of his film Flags of paper , Nathan Ambrosioni, 19, admits to have “jumped for joy”. “I was always told that the First Plans was a real festival for film buffs, and an excellent launching pad for early films,” says the young man who tries to the camera from 12 years old. “It’s hyper-important that there are festivals such as this one, where, when it comes out of nowhere, one does not feel drowned in a selection of prestigious,” admits the young filmmaker, who made his film just after having passed the bac and considers that Angers “it will be shown to the big family of the cinema.”

A masterclass on music in the cinema of Costa-Gavras

Discoverer of talent, Initial Plans claims to also as an open window on european production. Among the nationalities competing this year include Hungary, Denmark, Germany or the netherlands, while the actress of Borgen , Sidse Babett Knudsen, and the Dutch Michael Dudok de Wit, producer of The Turtle red , are among the jurors. “We feel that a landscape which is not always very pink is emerging through these films, the reality of the Europe of today, with social issues and generational,” acknowledges Claude-Eric Poiroux.

Rich in events, meetings, debates, film schools and animation, readings from scenarios of beginners by well-known actors, First Plans offers also a place for renowned filmmakers, with the mission “to discover the history and heritage of the cinema.”

“This festival is the opposite of the Cannes film Festival, everyone meets everyone”

Jeanne Moreau

last year, a retrospective was dedicated to Pedro Almodovar and Agnès Varda. This year, the film-maker franco-Greek Costa-Gavras, known for his political thrillers, and Corneliu Porumboiu, figure of the new cinema in romania in the years 2000, will be honored in front of an audience, a third of which was under 25 years of age. “The idea is to give marks to the audience by showing him the great names of european cinema. I’m not sure that young people have seen Costa-Gavras on the big screen”, argues the founder of the festival, which also operates the cinema “Les 400 coups” in Angers. The masterclass, entitled, the music in the cinema of Costa-Gavras , held on the 28th of January, and hosted by Stéphane Lerouge, will be the climax of the coming, very much expected from the director of Z Angers.

Attentive to the public,First Plansl’is also the world of cinema, with 700 professionals received last year. “This festival is the opposite of the Cannes film Festival, everyone meets everyone,” said Jeanne Moreau, a faithful friend of the festival. Recalling that the film “is a business of meetings”, Claude-Eric Poiroux, stresses that it is “common” that a passage or a price in Angers “triggers an acquisition by an exporter, or a distributor, and therefore a release in cinemas in several countries”.

The presentation of the Premiers Plans festival in Angers, 2019: watch the trailer

Z of Costa-Gavras, released in 1969. He received in 1969, the Jury prize at the Cannes film Festival and Jean-Louis Trintignant was the winner of the Prix d’interprétation masculine, With Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Irène Papas, Jacques Perrin…