The French-American Cultural Foundation is once again delighted to join with the famed French film director, Jacques Perrin, as he embarks on his newest project, “The Photographer.” Perrin’s new film will tell the story of the American West seen through the eyes of the early photographers who risked their lives to capture the beauty of the landscapes and the wildlife in the late 1800’s. Because of them, the American public discovered these amazing places and asked Congress to create the National Park system to preserve them. Jacques Perrin, with the generosity of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, and the help of the French-American Cultural Foundation will begin his exploratory research for this new film in 2018. After filming and post-production Perrin’s newest film will introduce new audiences to the natural wonders of our country and the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and wilderness areas for the future. The French-American Foundation is accepting donations for this project, and hopes every American will help to make this new film project a reality.
JAZZ MEETS FRANCE Concert
The French-American Cultural Foundation was honored to host “JAZZ MEETS FRANCE” on November 15th at the Lisner Auditorium, a concert celebrating the lives and music of the WW1 jazzmen-soldiers, the Harlem Hell Fighters.
The evening was launched with a video welcome from the Concert’s Honorary Chairman, Wynton Marsalis, followed by Ambassador Louise Oliver. Dr. David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, served as the Master of Ceremonies, telling the story of WW1 and the contributions of the African-American troops who were sent to France to fight, bringing with them America’s unique sound of jazz. The evening’s music provided by the US Air Force’s “Airmen of Note”, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Michael Weiss Trio Plus One, and France’s Master of Jazz Guitar, Christian Escoudé. They brought the early sounds of jazz developed by the Harlem Hell Fighter’s bandleader, James Reese Europe, as well as the jazz standards they created to an appreciative audience. We are also grateful to Gene Alexander Peters, who brought his rare collection of WW1 and James Reese Europe memorabilia to help educate a new generation about the Harlem Hell Fighters and the important role they played in the development of jazz and in connection with the advancement of civil rights in the United States.
The French-American Cultural Foundation and The National WW1 Museum and Memorial hosted a symposium and lunch at the French Embassy’s La Maison Française as a part of the 1917-2017 WW1 Centenary observances marking the U.S. entry into the Great War. The theme of the program was “The U.S. Entry Into WW1: Was There A Choice?” Following welcomes from Ambassador Louise V. Oliver, Mme. Nathalie Broadhurst, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of France, and co-host, Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of The National WW1 Museum and Memorial, a series of war-time poems were read by film-maker and author, Ron Maxwell, entitled “Reflections from the Trenches.” The morning’s keynote speech was delivered by Jay Winter, Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, who spoke on “Making Unavoidable Decisions in the Context of War,” which was followed by a Panel Discussion with Michael Nieberg and Michael Kazin, moderated by Jennifer Keene. The luncheon began with some music by the “Metronomes” from the Metropolitan Club, led by Knight Kiplinger, who sang a number songs popular during the WW1-era , along with a stirring rendition of the “Marseilles.” The luncheon conversation, “Stumbling Into WW1: Will History Repeat Itself?” was the topic of the symposium’s special guest speaker, HRH Prince Nikolaus von Liechtenstein, whose insights and family connections gave a new perspective on the tensions that drew Europe and the world into war. Finally, the symposium ended with a poignant reading of the John McCrae poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Ambassador James Cain. The well-attended event provided an opportunity to delve into the “forgotten war” honoring the courage and bravery of the millions who died, and to educate a new generation about it in order to avoid such bloodshed in the future.
Toulouse-Lautrec: An Evening of Art and Cabaret
On March 28th, friends of the French-American Cultural Foundation enjoyed an “Evening of Art and Cabaret” at The Phillips Collection, celebrating the art of Toulouse-Lautrec. Following a private tour of the amazing works of this iconic artist, guests gathered for a champagne cocktail and a gourmet dinner in the Mansion’s Music Room.
A French quintet provided the music, punctuated by the songs of Piaf and Trenet, as two wonderful can-can dancers delighted guests with an energetic and colorful show to end the evening.
Brothers at Arms: The Role of France in the American Revolution
“Brothers at Arms: When the United States Spoke French – The Role of France in the American Revolution and its Aftermath”
On April 20th, The National Archives, in partnership with the French American Cultural Foundation and the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, present noted historians and authors Larrie Ferreiro and François Furstenberg to discuss French involvement in the Revolutionary War and early America, sharing how the Revolution’s success depended on the assistance provided by France and Spain in the nation’s formative years. Book signings of “Brothers at Arms and When the United States Spoke French” will follow the program.
Cinema at La Maison Française
The French-American Cultural Foundation is a proud sponsor of the French Embassy’s bi-monthly Cinema Series, bringing the best of classic and current French film to Washington audiences. Free tickets are available online through the Embassy’s website. Click through below for the link to reserve your tickets now. Embassy of France – La Maison Française 4101 Reservoir Road, NW Washington, DC 20007.
"Cézanne et Moi"
The French-American Cultural Foundation co-hosted a Special Preview of “CÉZANNE ET MOI” on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
presented by Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures, and Pathé Cinema at Landmark’s “E Street Cinema”
Academy Award nominated French writer-director Danièle Thompson’s CÉZANNE ET MOI, a riveting 19th-century period drama starring Guillaume Canet and Guillaume Gallienne as two of French culture’s legends, the novelist Émile Zola and post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. CÉZANNE ET MOI chronicles the decade-long friendship between Cézanne, who was born into a wealthy family but struggled to make a living as a painter, and Zola, who came from a poor background but achieved notoriety as a novelist. The film traces the parallel paths of their lives and careers from Aix-en-Provence to Paris, while exploring their fears and ambitions.
Film Premiere: SEASONS
The French-American Cultural Foundation, in partnership with the Richard Lounsbery Foundation and the Embassy of France, presented the US premiere of SEASONS, the new film by famed French directors, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud on November 1st in Washington, DC. A formal dinner, hosted by Ambassador Gérard Araud in honor of the directors, was held at the French Ambassador’s Residence, bringing together Washington’s top leaders in the fields of environmental protection and film. SEASONS, which opens at selected theaters nation-wide on November 25th, takes us on a journey through ancients forests and through time, recounting the birth of the seasons. It explores of the beauty of our planet through the eyes of its wildlife, alerting us to the dangers of climate change and man’s obligation to help, as the natural world stands without defenses without our aid.
2016 Lafayette Prize Awarded to Marguerite and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest
The 2016 Lafayette Prize was awarded to Marguerite and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest at a gala dinner hosted by French Ambassador Gérard Araud at the Résidence de France on November 30th. The Lafayette Prize, the Foundation’s highest honor, is given to individuals who through their work and vision have strengthened the ties between the US and France. The Lenfests, through their unique style of philanthropy, have strongly supported numerous programs and exchanges between France and the United States over the years. In recognition of their broad vision and extraordinary generosity in areas including history, culture, and education, as well as for their deep-rooted love of France, the Foundation is delighted to present them with the Lafayette Prize. We were honored that both Dr. James Billington, the former Librarian of Congress, and Mr. David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, the previous winners of the Lafayette Prize in 2007 and 2011 were able to attend the dinner and award ceremony.
Versailles and the American Revolution Symposium
The French-American Cultural Foundation organized a day-long symposium on June 15th on “Versailles and the American Revolution.” This crucial alliance was the focus of a first-ever exhibit on the subject at the Château de Versailles from July 5th – October 2nd, 2016. Highlighting the importance of France’s strategic financial and military aid to the American colonies, without which the United States would not have gained its independence, symposium participants discussed the subject from a wide range of perspectives. Speakers at the day-long symposium included leading historians from America’s top universities, authors, and experts, including Versailles’ chief curator, Bertrand Rondot. Please click here to see photos from the symposium, and here to see to see photos from the reception.
Versailles is hosting a special exhibit on France’s role in the American Revolutionary War. Drawing on the extraordinary collections from numerous French museums and institutions, as well as their American counterparts, the exhibit will be on display from July – October, 2016. The French-American Cultural Foundation is honored to be a partner with Versailles in helping sponsor this important event.
The Washington Chorus
Celebrating the music of France for their 2016 spring season, the French-American Cultural Foundation was honored to partner with The Washington Chorus” for its “Parisian Spring Gala.” A week of special musical events culminated with the award-winning chorus presenting a concert at The Kennedy Center, featuring one of France’s greatest organists, Thierry Escaich. The French-American Cultural Foundation was delighted to have joined in the festivities, and to have had the chance to use the gala evening to pay tribute to Mr. Leonard Silverstein, the distinguished Washington attorney and cultural benefactor, for his seventeen years of unparalleled leadership of the Foundation.
Meridian International Center
The French-American Cultural Foundation was pleased to help organize a dinner-discussion with the generous support of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, on December 7, 2015, as a part of the ongoing US-France Leadership Dialogue. Bringing together top experts from both the US and France,the subject of “Health and Innovation: Collaborating on Coverage, Communication and Cures,” provided an interesting evening of discussion led by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of the Meridian International Center, moderated by Ambassador Louise Oliver, and keynoted by Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Watkins Gilding Award
Keeping culture alive means keeping art alive. In the context of France and United States, that means finding ways to ensure that traditional art forms and skills are passed down to new generations in both countries. The Watkins Gilding Award was created in collaboration with Gold Leaf Studios to help maintain the ancient art of gilding through an artisan scholarship exchange program where a young American gilder and a young French gilder could spend time in the other’s country to learn the generations-old secrets that permitted this fine art to symbolize and reflect the height of France’s artistic mastery.
Saint Germain ADOPT A STAR
The “American Friends for the Preservation of Saint Germain des Prés” recently launched its ‘Adopt a Saint Germain Star’ fundraiser, supporting the renovation of Paris’ oldest church, “l’église de Saint Germain des Prés” in the heart of Paris’ sixth arrondissement. An emblematic landmark in the neighborhood named after it, the influence and resonant beauty of the Church of Saint Germain des Prés have touched the lives of philosophers, artists, students, patrons and passers-by alike through the years. There has been an abbey or church on this site since 543 A.D. The current structure is more than a thousand years old. Not surprisingly, the church is suffering the ravages of time. The nave, the transepts and capitals, the incomparable celestial ceiling are crumbling; the paintings of Flandrin (Ingres’ favorite student) are stained and fading. But a relief effort is now taking form on both sides of the Atlantic. The “American Friends for the Preservation of Saint Germain des Prés”, a 501(c)(3) charity recognized by the IRS, is seeking new friends to join in its mission to preserve this quintessential Parisian landmark. Our Adopt a Saint Germain Star campaign will allow you to join so many others in adopting and naming one or more of the thousands of stars which shine down from the church’s ancient vaulted ceiling. A star can be adopted to honor a parent or child, an old friend, a fallen comrade, or for no particular person or cause other than that of helping to save an irreplaceable piece of world heritage. By visiting the website below, you will find a multitude of details and information about the church and the renovation project now underway. It also displays an interactive star-map of the church ceiling as well as full details on how to adopt a star via a tax-deductible donation. Please help our friends in this effort and be a part of the next thousand years of Saint Germain history.