Watch our videos here!  


2003 - To Be and To Have by Nicolas Philibert (documentary)
2004 - If I Were a Rich Man by Michel Munz and Gérard Bitton (comedy)
2005 - The Beat That My Heart Skipped by Jacques Audiard (thriller)
2006 - The Young Lieutenant by by Xavier Beauvois (thriller)
2007 - My Best Friend  by Patrice Leconte (comedy)
2008 - The Grocer’s Son by Eric Guirado (comedy)
2009 - Welcome by Philippe Lioret (drama)
2010 - Army of Crime by Robert Guediguian (historical drama) and Heartbreaker by Pascal Chaumeil (comedy)
2011 -
Gainsbourg, A Heroic Life by Joann Sfar (biopic)
2012 - Romantics Anonymous by Jean-Pierre Améris
(romantic comedy)
2013 - Starbuck by Ken Scott (comedy)

2014 - Chinese Puzzle by Cédric Klapisch (comedy
2015 - Samba by Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano (comedy)
2016 - Come What May by Christian Carion (historical Drama)


The Sacramento media have been very enthusiastic about the Sacramento French Film Festival since its first edition. Long, positive articles about the SFFF are published every July in the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento News & Review.

Each year, the Festival is featured on news programs of local television and radio stations. NBC KCRA3, ABC News 10, UPN 31, the public access station Access Sacramento as well as Capitol Public Radio and News Talk 1530AM KFBK broadcast information about the Festival, clips of the featured films and interviews with the Festival's organizers.

"The region's premier film event" - Carla Meyer - The Sacramento Bee, February 2014

"The Sacramento French Film Festival - the marquee event of the year for local film lovers." The Sacramento Bee, February 26, 2010

"With last year’s record attendance cementing its status of the area’s premier film eventFrom the cover article Continental Flair – Carla Meyer, The Sacramento Bee, June 19th, 2009

"Forget the megaplex and take in some French films this weekend at the Sacramento French Film Festival” – Nick Miller, SN&R, June 18th, 2009.

“The SFFF is one of the best things Sacramento has going, a two-week excursion through the past and present of French films.” – Daniel Barnes, SN&R, June 25th, 2009.

If you plan every summer around the Sacramento French Film Festival –and if you don’t, you should-because it’s great- it is moving up from July to June this year” – Carla Meyer, The Sacramento Bee, April 3rd, 2009

“One of the most compelling reasons to stay in town on a sweltering July weekend is the Sacramento French Film Festival.” – Dan Barnes, Midtown Monthly, July 2008.

“From an unlikely beginning, the Sacramento French Film Festival has bloomed into a summer highlight.” - Carla Meyer, The Sacramento Bee, July 13th, 2008.

“The lineup of this film festival prompts one response… Vive le cinema” – Carla Meyer, Sacramento Bee, July 15, 2007

“Au revoir, Hollywood! Can the French save Sacramento’s summer movie season? It’s always a great relief to be stuck in the midsummer-cinema-going-glut that is July, whereupon the Sacramento French Film festival takes over the downtown Crest Theatre for a couple weekends. (…) At a glance, this year’s lineup (…) is the best yet.” – Nick Miller, Midtown Monthly, Summer 2007

“C’est si bon !” – Barry Wisdom, Inside the City, July 2007

“Cream of the French crop.” - Dixie Reid, Sacramento Bee. July 9th 2006

“Unquestionably, the road to a vigorous film scene is paved with good film festivals. One of ours, the fifth annual Sacramento French Film Festival, gets under way this weekend. Part of this Festival appeal is its range—more than a dozen highly varied features, plus a batch of shorts.”Jonathan Kiefer, SN&R. July 13th 2006

 “I revel in a intimate experience of France that requires no airfare or language skills to navigate.”Becca Costello - SN&R. July 20th 2006

“Whether you parlez cinéma or not, the fifth Sacramento French Film Festival makes it easy to pretend that you do. These feature films, premieres and classics are sure to please anyone sophisticated  enough to listen to French dialog with English subtitles.” Stefan Gruenwedel, MGW July 2006

Winner! 2005 Arts Management Excellence Award
"The Sacramento Youth Symphony and the Sacramento French Film Festival won awards Wednesday for excellence in arts management from the Arts & Business Council of Sacramento. The Youth Symphony was honored among organizations with an annual budget of $125,000 or more, while the film festival won for organizations with a budget under $125,000. The awards, which honor local arts organizations and volunteers, were given out at the Arts & Business Council's annual "Prelude to the Season" luncheon, held at the DoubleTree Hotel."
Sacramento Bee. October 6th 2005

"Sacramento's annual rendez vous with French films is gaining steam."
Dixie Reid, Sacramento Bee. July 15th 2005

"Find Cesar winners and free breakfasts with this quick guide to the new, improved Sacramento French Film Festival (...) A local urban legend has it that watching the entire festival will render the viewer fluent in French. Not a bad side effect!"
Mark Halverson, SN&R. July 14th 2005

"Containing feature films, local premieres and classics - including two midnight shockers - this event is sure to show something that pleases just about anybody who can handle French dialogs with English subtitles."
Stephan Gruenwedel, MGW. July 1st 2005

"So many films, so little space. I'd like to greet the extraordinary third annual Sacramento French Film Festival (.) with the proper lengthy introduction. But with so much to cover (.) let's just say that it's 'magnifique'."
Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee. Friday, July 16th 2004

"Mon Dieu! There are so many films packed into the three days of the third annual Sacramento French Film Festival that you will be hard pressed to see them all. It can be done (.) Here's how."
Becca Costello, Sacramento news & Review. Thursday, July 15th 2004

"The second annual Sacramento French Film Festival (.) is not to be missed. (.) Last year's inaugural event was a pleasant surprise that seemed to come out of nowhere, but this year, festival coordinators (.) have topped themselves with an assemblage of films that challenge our notions of what both we and movies can be. (.) I don't know about 'terminator 3' or 'X2' (X Men 2) but it seems to me that the movie event of the summer is the French Film Festival - at least in Sacramento."
Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee. Friday, July 11th 2003

"The three-day program, which is at the Crest Theatre, takes several bold new risks while having the same fingerprints of success as the one last year at the Tower Theatre."
Mark Halverson, Sacramento news & Review. Thursday, July10 th 2003

"Have I got a movie event for you. (.) It's looking good -no make it "great" (.). This little festival is a most welcomed addition to the Sacramento movie scene, a nice way to spend a warm summer afternoon or evening (.). It's formidable -pronounced the French way of course." Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee. Thursday, July 11th 2002

"The resulting lineup is an impressive array that eschews the action genre for stories driven more by character than by special effect or gunplay". Mark Halverson, Sacramento news & Review. Thursday, July11 th 2002


2013 opening
SFFF Planning Committee & Board of Directors onstage
while Cécile Downs receives the medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
from Denis Bisson, Attaché Culturel to the French Consulate in SF.
- Opening Night 2013


Every summer since 2002, the Sacramento French Film Festival
takes you on a trip to France without leaving Sacramento...

The SFFF, organized by the Sacramento French Cultural Society, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization created in 2010 (Board of Directors), is the second largest French film festival on the West Coast. It is a unique cultural event that brings people together around films and French culture in a festive atmosphere. With the variety of its programming, the SFFF appeals to a diverse, educated, and affluent audience of all ages. Held for the past 12 years at the Crest Theatre, Sacramento’s last art deco movie palace, the SFFF reaches thousand of people each year and plays an important part in the cultural life of Downtown Sacramento.

Every June, the SFFF premieres the most acclaimed and newest French feature films; rediscovers classics; and showcases short films from France and Sacramento (supporting local filmmakers whose work has a « French flavor »). A popular catered reception opens the SFFF every year on a Friday night, followed by the opening film. Films continue all day long on Saturday and Sunday, for two consecutive weekends, including Saturday midnight movies for mature audiences, followed by popular midnight breakfasts, and a short film screening precedeed by a breakfast with our filmmaker guests. The Festival ends on a Sunday night with a fun Champagne Party following the closing film. In addition, we present an exhibition curated by Sacramento artists in the lobby of the Crest Theatre.

All films are presented in French with English subtitles. Each film is shown either once or twice. Event passes or single film tickets can be purchased. A popular drawing for free prizes offered by local businesses precedes each screening; discussions with film experts and special guests follow most screenings. In 2003 we created an Audience Award, as a way to further engage our attendees.

Every year the SFFF receives exceptional reviews from the media and the community and has won several awards for its creativity, outstanding leadership, and the excellence of its programs. The SFFF has been described in the Sacramento Bee as « the marquee event of the year for local film lovers » and, more recently, « the region’s premier film event » and in the SN&R as « one of the best things Sacramento has going ». Our enthusiastic audience is raving about the SFFF:  « Best cultural event in Sacramento! », « It’s almost as enjoyable as being in France! », « Wish we had a similar event in Oakland or SF », « It brings the community together », « It broadens our view of the world »...

Contributions to our organization are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


We also present three other annual events: a Winter Short Film Screening and the multi media event Serge! A Celebration of french Music, and, since 2014, a Mini Fall French Film Festival. In addition, we host special screenings as opportunities arise. The SFFF is proud to partner with local arts organizations like the Crocker Art Museum, Verge Center for the Arts and the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra.

In January 2011 in partnership with the Sacramento Philharmonic, we presented our most prestigious single event to date: a “Cinema-Concert” featuring the classic silent comedy by René Clair, An Italian Straw Hat, accompanied by live musicians of the Sac Phil conducted by French composer Raymond Alessandrini.


In 2013, Cécile Mouette Downs, Executive & Artistic Director and co-founder of the Sacramento French Film Festival was appointed to the prestigious order of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Government.

In 2010, Cécile Mouette Downs received the Arts Executive of the Year Award from the Sacramento Arts & Business Council.

In 2007 & 2008, the SFFF was voted Best Film Festival in Sacramento by the readers of the Sacramento News & review. (There was no such category in the following years.) In 2014, the SFFF was voted one of the Top 3 Film Festivals in Sacramento by the readers of the Sacramento News & Review.

In 2007, the SFFF won the Dottie Award for Best Website in the Entertainment, Restaurant & Nightclub catgory.

In 2005, the SFFF received the Arts Management Excellence Award from the Arts & Business Council, for its outstanding contribution to arts and culture in the Sacramento region.


The Sacramento French Film Festival is put on by a team of French and American women and men from various backgrounds who share a passion for French cinema.



  miou miou  

Cécile Mouette Downs, Executive and Artistic Director. Co-founder of the SFFF.

Cécile Mouette Downs, a native of France, is co-founder of the Sacramento French Film Festival. Before moving to Sacramento in 2001, Cécile worked for 3 years at the Film Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York City. There she promoted French films and television programs in the United States, and helped theaters, museums, universities and various festivals feature recent and classic French films. She organized receptions, film screenings, press lunches and other events and was a press contact for the French films selected at the New York's French Film Festival, Rendez Vous with French Cinema, and at the New York Film Festival. She also curated experimental video shows at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan. From 1992 to 1998, Cécile worked as a Press Officer for the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (the French FCC) in Paris. She holds a Master of Arts in History from the University Paris X, on French Catholics and Cinema. In 2010, Cécile received the Arts Executive of the Year Award from the Sacramento Arts & Business Council. In 2013, she was appointed to the prestigious order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.


  patrick dewaere  

John Downs, Technical Director

John, a native Californian, moved to Sacramento in 2000. He is an aquatic and wetland ecologist for the State of California and a member of the American Whitewater Association. An amateur musician (ukulele, guitar and most recently trumpet), he is an avid swimmer and cyclist and enjoys snowboarding, kayaking, kinetic sculpture, France, and French cinema. One college film appreciation class taught him that good films inspire, make you feel, emote, and connect... He is a student of the human condition and enjoys the realism and the absurd that the French bring to the screen. His candid eye and opinion are a great help when it comes to constructing a balanced and accessible program! John is also our talented short film projectionist.


  Philippe Noiret  

Kevin Elstob, President

Belovingly nicknamed “Le Professeur” by our audience, Kevin Elstob conducts most post-screening discussions at the SFFF, and at our other events. His knowledge of both French cinema and French culture provides our audience with the most insightful Q&A sessions.
Since working on the theatre of French playwright Michel Vinaver for his PhD, Elstob has continued to examine ways in which the visual arts, particularly theatre and film, portray French and francophone culture. He has taught a number of classes on francophone film and in which films in French are investigated as linguistic, geographic, historic, and social canvases. Elstob is board president of the Sacramento French Film Festival and former president and founding member of the Alliance Française de Sacramento. He loves to play pétanque and is a qualified pétanque umpire. He has published articles and given papers on French, American, and Québécois theatre and film. His particular area of interest is cultural representations on stage and screen.


  emmanuelle beart  

Tracy Milner, Secretary

Tracy Milner, a native Californian, has lived in Sacramento most of her life. She recently retired after a long career working in accounting and budgets for the State of California. She is a life-long movie fan, loves taking pictures, collecting art and has recently started creating some art of her own. She also loves to travel and a trip to Paris several years ago made her fall in love with France and all things French... In 2005 she joined the team of the SFFF, first as an “Event Volunteer,” then as a member of our Planning Committee. When the SFFF became a non-profit organization, Tracy became Secretary of the Board of Directors. Tracy has worked as a volunteer for several organizations. She is always available to accomplish administrative tasks as required. She is in charge of the smooth running of our events.


  natacha regnier  

Jane Berner, Treasurer

Jane has been a volunteer with the Sacramento French Film Festival since its first edition. After growing up in Sacramento, Jane left for college in Chicago and, while pursuing a degree in economics, also explored her love of film and the arts. She volunteered for the University of Chicago’s DOC Films student-run cinema and worked for six years as a feature film programmer for the Chicago International Film Festival. She now uses that experience to advise the SFFF on film selection and also handles administrative and financial duties. While she still has a passion for film, she has pursued a professional career in urban planning. She received her master’s degree from UCLA and has worked as a transportation planner in both the public and private sector.


  patrick dewaere  

John Downs, Board member


  Christine Boisson  

Connie Georgiu, Board member & Co-founder of the SFFF.

Connie Georgiu obtained a B. A. in French literature from Luther College and went on to teach high school French and English for three years. But her primary career has been as co-founder and VP of Operations for Alltest, Inc. in the Chicago area and co-owner of two tech firms in California. She is a past board member of the Alliance Française de Sacramento and co-founded the Sacramento French Film Festival where she served as the Director of Administration for the first seven festivals. She has extensive experience serving on fundraisers for the Crocker Art Museum, The SPCA, and the Gardeners of the Grove, travels frequently (often to France) and, like her fellow board members, is passionate about French cinema, French culture and the SFFF!


  jean-pierre leaud  

Chris Tafoya, Board member

You may have caught a glimpse of the always sartorially turned-out Mr. Tafoya bicycling around midtown. He may very well have been on his way to a SFFF meeting. He was born and raised in Woodland, California, before moving to the “big city” in 1990 and becoming a man about town. He has many interests in the arts but is best known for his extensive film knowledge and a lifelong love of movies. He has also regularly imbibed French music since discovering his parents' soundtrack to “Un Homme et Une Femme” when he was seven years old. Currently he DJ's for the opening and closing night parties at the SFFF, for the Serge! Party, and for the Bastille Day Party organized by the Handle District. He has been instrumental in creating the Serge! Gainsbourg Tribute Party and making it blossom into an annual Sacramento tradition- because if there’s one thing Chris enjoys, it’s throwing a party. He also mixes a wicked cocktail! He provides make-up and costume for our posters and the décor for most of our events. Ardent Francophile Chris has spent time in Paris and is looking forward to exploring other parts of France in the future.


  emmanuelle beart  

Tracy Milner, Administrative Coordinator


  natacha regnier  

Jane Berner, Administrative Coordinator & Member of the film selection committee


  juliette binoche  

Jennifer Gravvat, Volunteers Coordinator

Jennifer Gravvat, a native Sacramentan, is a graduate of CSU, Sacramento with a bachelor's degree in French and Liberal Studies and is currently an elementary school teacher. Jennifer lived in Aix-en-Provence, France for two years as a student of l'Université d'Aix-en-Provence, where she fell in love with France, the French people, and French culture. She has been a volunteer with the SFFF since 2004, and became a core member of the SFFF Planning Committee in 2006. She flawlessly accomplishes the difficult task of being Volunteer Coordinator and loves it


  jean-pierre leaud  

Chris Tafoya, Special Events Coordinator


  isabelle huppert  

Jo Oseman, Catering Coordinator

Originally from the UK, Jo had been living in France for three years when she moved to Sacramento in 2006. She discovered the Sacramento French Film Festival in 2007, and she signed up to volunteer the very next year. Jo joined to planning committee four years ago and her primary responsibilities revolve around the catered receptions held at the beginning and end of each festival season. From soliciting donations to mapping out the event and directing volunteers, Jo coordinates these receptions from start to finish. Drawn to the festival by her love of cinema, Jo has a love of French culture and of foreign languages in general. Her professional background lies in translation and localization. With experience as a French translator and project manager, Jo works now as Client and Account Manager for a local Language Services Provider.


  alain delon  

Guy Michelier, Photographer, Cocktail maker, & more...

Born in France, in Provence and more precisely in Arles "la porte de la Camargue", Guy moved to California at the age of 24, in 1977 and is a State employee working for a consumer agency. Guy has been volunteering for the SFFF since 2008 and brings his computer knowledge and his organizational skills to the service of the event. He enjoys working with the planning committee where he met fun and friendly people. He hopes everything will go smoothly this year!... In 2015, Guy was appointed Honorary Consul in Sacramento by the French Government.


  jean-paul belmondo  

Pierre Asmar

Pierre, born in Lyon, France, lived in Lebanon for a few years before heading for Davis, California where he established residence and obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree in Sacramento.  He was an active member of the real estate industry practicing in Davis before moving to the Sacramento area opening a retail business (home decorating) in Roseville.  His passion has always been movies, traveling, socializing and meeting progressively minded new friends!


  brigitte bardot  

Joan Taylor, Will Call Coordinator

Joan Adornetto Taylor, originally from New York, lived in Santa Barbara, Davis, Boston, and Aix-en-Provence, France before settling in Sacramento.  Her formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in French, A Masters of Arts in Education and a California Teaching Credential. She worked as a Paralegal, Legal Translator, and for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Boston before landing her avocation and vocation: French Teacher. She currently teaches French to High School students by day, and eager adults by night.

Her love affair with French began many many years ago and she frequently travels to France and other parts of the Francophone world.  An avid film buff since she could sit up and watch them... being part of the planning committee, (since the first festival!) of the Sacramento French Film Festival is a natural fit. When not at work, you may see her strolling through town, hunting for old treasures, eating popcorn and watching myriad films, conviving with friends.... and always with a smile.



In Sacramento
Cécile Mouette Downs
Jane Berner

Kevin Elstob
John Downs

In Paris
With the help of Stéphanie Vasseur, filmmaker, & Christine Gendre, Responsable du Service Courts-Métrages à Unifrance.



2011 opening night
SFFF Planning Committee onstage on Opening Night 2011 - Photo Dimitri Stanich

closing night 2010
Happy Team of Volunteers on Closing Night 2010 - Photo Mark Urquart Webb

opening night 2009
SFFF Planning Committee onstage on Opening Night 2009 - Photo Denis Rouleau

Opening 2008
SFFF Planning Committee onstage on Opening Night 2008 - Photo Steve Kao