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New Directions at the French Institute

The French Institute in London has an ambitious programme of events in 2018, says its talented new Director Claudine Ripert-Landler

Claudine Ripert-Landler steps into the role of Director of the French Institute and French Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy at a time of uncertainty in EU relations.

But the former top advisor to François Hollande looks past gloomy Brexit forecasts, and sees it as an ‘exceptional opportunity’ to reinforce the links between the two countries, regardless of the political backdrop.

‘The Institute is an exceptional tool in this regard,’ says Ripert-Landler. ‘We have the ability to build and develop our shared heritage, and to reassure communities in both countries that we are working together for a shared future.’

For Ripert-Landler this means sharing and showcasing the best that France has to offer with the more than 200,000 visitors to the Institute every year – both as a conduit of French art and culture, and as a platform for other cultures and languages.

In this vein, the Institute is offering a programme of events with global ambitions. Its cinema, the Ciné Lumière is showing European and World cinema throughout the year, hosting an average of 15 international festivals featuring the latest productions from Spain, Italy and Russia, among others.

It is reinforcing the venue as one of London’s most relevant repertory cinemas – the Iranian film festival, for instance, sold out in hours, as there is no other venue in the city where these films are screened.

Other events will look outside of London, including a France-UK dance festival, which will engage with regional dance companies from Bristol to Belfast, and a series of cross-cultural theatre projects to be mounted in English and French on both sides of the Channel.

‘The common link in all of these activities is our shared values,’ says Ripert-Landler. ‘Free expression, free art, exchange and debate.’

Plans also include special offerings for 25-year-olds and under, with educational provisions alongside more youth-oriented talks, events and gigs.

Ripert-Landler will oversee ongoing renovations to the physical spaces at the Institute, including a 35-seat cinema for more intimate screenings, and lounge and multi-purpose areas, suited for hosting arts, educational and corporate events. The foyer will also be fitted with the latest technological equipment.

« The common link in all of these activities is our shared values,’ says Ripert-Landler. ‘Free expression, free art, exchange and debate. »

‘These renovations will contribute to the overall impression of the Institute as an upscale venue,’ says Ripert-Landler.

‘There are high levels of expectations, both from the French and British community. We know that with this talented team, we can meet and exceed expectations – and create a space with a modern, global outlook.

This article was originally published in INFO magazine, January/February 2018

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