For 11 years, the French Film Festival has been an ongoing event with added art, culture, and food elements to show students and faculty the beauty of French and German culture for four nights. After two years without hosting the festival due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event continued as a successful evening.

Students of all levels in their foreign language journey gathered for the hour-long cultural event before the movie to eat french inspired pastries, showcase their musical talents, and have caricatures drawn.

Antonio Serrano, a voice performance major at Fullerton College, sings during the cultural event. Serrano performed three opera songs in French.

Antonio Serrano, a voice performance major at Fullerton College, sings during the cultural event. Serrano performed three opera songs in French. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

Kennedy Devries, French club president said, “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to spread culture to students who wouldn’t normally do French, but also give French students a chance to build community amongst themselves, especially after so long in a pandemic.”

Nikita Martin, a studio arts major, draws Elisa Agatep, a biology major in form as a caricature. Agatep said she started taking French classes to communicate with her friends who were already taking French courses and is now a French tutor.

Nikita Martin, a studio arts major, draws Elisa Agatep, a biology major in form as a caricature. Agatep said she started taking French classes to communicate with her friends who were already taking French courses and is now a French tutor. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

Devries said they kept up the French club meetings during the pandemic by having speakers over Zoom, like the cultural attaché from the French embassy and some Fullerton College students who were abroad in France teaching English, which many students go on to do after finishing the French program. Devries said many students from Fullerton College are commonly accepted.

Students from French 101 sing "It&squot;s a Small World" in French at the start of the evening.

Students from French 101 sing “It’s a Small World” in French at the start of the evening. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

The four nights feature different food vendors and performances. One of the featured vendors was Pandor, an artisan bakery and cafe which served attendees their OMG bar, a buttery vanilla and cream cheese dessert. Pandor has been a vendor at the festival since 2015.

“We partnered with a baker in the south of France in Sainte-Maxime and he’s a very well-established artisan baker. And so he came out here and helped us design all of the recipes to work with and the types of flours, and everything in the hydration levels. So we’re kind of proud of it. We’ve kept with very stringent French techniques of baking and we make everything from scratch,” said Tiffany Sepetjian, co-founder of Pandor.

People gathered for the cultural event where they could pick up free French inspired pastries, listen to music from Fullerton College students, and get caricatures of themselves drawn before watching "Pupille."

People gathered for the cultural event where they could pick up free French inspired pastries, listen to music from Fullerton College students, and get caricatures of themselves drawn before watching “Pupille.” Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

French teacher Catherine Reinhardt has been the driving force behind the cultural event since 2015. Before she spearheaded the event, the festival focused only on movies. The community-building aspect is an integral part of the event for Reinhardt.

“It’s important for [the students] to relate and discover other departments, and to talk to each other,” said Reinhardt.

The festival brought together students from local middle schools and high schools since Fullerton College offers classes to those students for credits. Reinhardt said those students make up a significant portion of the French program.

Artwork from Sonora High School students is displayed around the festival.

Artwork from Sonora High School students is displayed around the festival. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

All artwork displayed at the festival is from Sonora High School in La Habra. Reinhardt gets the artwork from French teacher Karen Mcclung who hosts a Paris Night for her high school students.

No passport is needed to have a night in Paris, but a COVID-19 vaccination is required to enter and a ticket.

The next three days of the festival will show “Ballon,” on Mar. 30, “Un Triomphe,” on April 5, and “Au Bout Des Doigts,” on April 6. The movies are shown in the campus theater and begin at 7:30, after the cultural event at 6:30.

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(She/her) Gigi is a journalism major from La Habra, CA. She’s an avid concert-goer and enjoys listening to crime podcasts.