Bring Your Own Brie … to the French Riviera Film Festival


Close your eyes. Don’t cheat … close ’em! Now … pretend you are on the French Riviera. Now open your eyes. Guess what? You’re not! You’re still hunkered down in your apartment hiding from a deadly pandemic! It’s ruined everyone’s movie-going fun, but COVID-19 is no joke. It is an easily transmitted virus that has hurt and even killed way too many of our fellow citizens around the world. And we, the healthy, need to assiduously avoid getting infected.

As long as we’re thinking global, there’s good news on that front. The people behind the French Riviera Film Festival, which in its inaugural year, 2019, spooled marvelous movies concurrent to the Festival de Cannes, have adapted beautifully to our situation. This year the festival, with a variety of screenings, panels and events, will be available on line for a minimal fee, a scant amount of money that will support the FRFF‘s good work in getting films viewed by a broad public.

For film buffs, it means getting cozy on the coach — and bringing your own brie! Over two days this coming weekend, FRFF 2020 will celebrate short film and short-form content, the works of filmmakers from more than 20 countries. To say it’s less expensive than a trip to the south of France is an understatement: The two-day festival pass is just US$20 — one day also possible for US$10.

Stand-out shorts for FRFF 2020 include Refugee, an Oscar qualifying short starring Quantico’s Yasmine Al Massri;  The Tears Thing by French director Clémence Poésy, who is also a top actress, most known for her work in series Gossip Girl, War and Peace and the film In Bruges; documentary The Power of Beauty by Italian director Alessandro Soetje; and She’s In My Head, the music video directorial debut by Lukas Haas (The Revenant).

yasmine al massri, ‘refugee

I’m attracted to a sub-section of the festival, which is dedicated to films by women. To prove that ladies still go first, a free-of-charge panel discussion of the female-driven content will kick off the Festival. You can hook into that on September 18 at 11 am PST, accessible on the French Riviera Film Festival website  and partner platforms.  The panel will be moderated by Women Documentary Filmmakers founder Sue Vicory, and will feature panelists filmmaker/photographer/author Francesca Andre, filmmaker Eeva Mägi and writer/entrepreneur/filmmaker Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest, and more. Info and links on this page.

Here at artsmeme, we are particular fans of Refugee, reviewed by our film critic Steve Farber very positively in 2019. There’s a Festival awards ceremony hosted by the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday night. Class! It actually makes good sense. Beverly Hills is a sister city to Cannes. It’s a party, but with masks and distancing; it’s COVID-cool, and will be live-streamed here.

French Riviera Film Festival | myriad events on line only | Sept 18, 19, starting at 1 pm PST | festival passes

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Fighting the virus of discouragement — with ballet 2


Ed. note: It is a an honor to share words written by dance educator and director of the Anaheim Ballet, Larry Rosenberg. Larry is expressing feelings and ideas shared by dance educators and company directors world wide. Larry writes as follows:

COVID-19 is dangerous and relentless, a real virus. But the virus of discouragement is equally real. For dancers who have found physical development, emotional self-confidence and spiritual beauty in their ballet training, the current lockdown is nothing short of devastating. While prudent precautions are necessary, the dance-trained body only understands it is no longer moving freely or jumping safely in a clear, open space.

The lockdown of “non-essential” dance studios and theaters has crimped the financial blood supply of thousands of enterprises and crushed the souls of dancers and dance lovers everywhere. We are seeing the inevitable effects of lockdown on our live dance community and on our dancers’ physical development and artistic expression.

While online zoom or instagram classes can help the continuance of dance in our communities, bodies training in a small room at home are not as flexible, not as strong, not as fast as those training in a dance facility. Atrophy presents a physical threat to dancers; despondency is a clear and present emotional danger.

So what are we to do as COVID-19 restrictions continue to inhibit normal indoor training? Here’s the Anaheim Ballet School and STEP-UP! outreach program “More Than Dance” success solution.

First, at Anaheim Ballet School we infuse every class with positivity. Both online and outdoor in- person students must be made to feel safe, challenged and welcomed. Every participant must sense that they are part of a community, that there are others involved with them in practicing this beautiful art form and that the teacher cares about them. Each student must work diligently for progress with the understanding that they can improve their technique no matter where they are standing.

anaheim ballet, orange county, california

Ballet is beautiful. It’s a gift. But that gift is languishing, losing its luster as dance studio doors and theaters remained closed. Our goal at the Anaheim Ballet School and outreach program STEP-UP! is to continue unlocking the beauty of ballet despite lockdown circumstances.

Anaheim Ballet School | for Zoom or in-person classes connect by email:

Read the extensive bios of Larry Rosenberg and his wife and co-director of the Anaheim Ballet, Sarma Lapeniek Rosenberg.

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