French Film Fest goes virtual

French classes adapt to online platforms for annual festival

Zoey Mortazavi, Senior Staff Writer

Per usual tradition, students in all levels of French classes at Oak Park High School geared up for the annual Colcoa French Film Festival. Normally, French teacher Maryannick Bovard and her integrated classes make a day out of the festival, and take a field trip to the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles in order to attend. The event is normally coordinated by Oak Park’s French Club. However this year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event switched to both in-person and virtual platforms, taking place for students on Nov. 1, in order to accommodate attendees. 

“We are so fortunate to have been able to do this event virtually,” Bovard said. “It’s a huge event, and people from all over the world try to attend.”

Students that attended this virtual event reported to the classroom at the beginning of the nutrition period on Monday; they watched the premiere of the movie, called “Les Héritières.” After this, they attended a virtual Q&A with the main actress from the movie, along with two script writers. The movie itself was an adversity story about a girl who transferred to a new and prestigious school. The Q&A following the premiere explored the message behind and the meaning of the film. 

“We wanted to create a world where women support each other instead of compete—an environment with characters who support one another, while also challenging each other,” Laure Elizabeth Bourdaud, a screenwriter, said during the Q&A. 

The Colcoa foundation itself is primarily funded by those who rent films and shows through the online platform; these funds contribute to the foundation’s ability to hold in-person events at the DGA every fall. High school French classes all over Southern California flood to this event every year. Admission for high school classrooms is free, only requiring an RSVP in advance from those desiring to attend.

“As much as I had been hoping to go to the festival in person, it’s nice that everything is being adapted so that we can still do it online,” junior Dylan Miller, a student in French 3 Honors, said. “Things may not be fully normal yet, but it’s comforting that the world is adapting to it.”

As a result of new complications brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, adaptations such as this have been made so that the world, and all of its events, might keep taking place. Virtual platforms and options have become more crucial than ever before, and events such as the Colcoa Film Festival will not soon be lost to students — or anyone else who wishes to partake in them — because of new, innovative, and adapted circumstances. 

“I have gone to Colcoa every year of my high school career, but it was still just as rewarding to go virtually,” Shouka Tavakolian, a senior in AP French 4, said. “It feels good not to miss out on events like this because of the adversity our world is facing.”