The nonprofit organization Alliance Française du Maine (AFDM) is sponsoring the first annual Festival Champlain — a free French language film festival open to all – on Sept. 23 and 24 in Portland.

In collaboration with the French Embassy, The Villa Albertine, the Consul General of France in Boston Mustafa Soykurt, and the Maine Honorary Consul Alban Maino, the festival celebrates the rich history of the French language in New England, where 5 percent of the population speaks French.

All films will be screened at Talbot Hall at the University of Southern Maine. The lineup includes movies from a variety of French-speaking countries. The festival opens on Friday afternoon with “Delicieux” followed by a reception at Portland’s Custom House. The festival continues on Saturday with a children’s screening of “Minga et la cuillere magique” at 10 a.m., followed by more films throughout the day. All films will be screened in the original French with English subtitles (Full program: .

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this free event to francophones and francophiles alike,” said AFDM President Régine Whittlesey. “New England is steeped in French language history, and Maine’s cultural texture is being diversified with the arrival of new Mainers from a host of Frenchspeaking countries. A French-language film festival embodies AFDM’s mission to promote our French-speaking communities and at the same time gives the opportunity to the large number of francophiles in Maine to enjoy some quality cinema en français.”

Whittlesey added that they plan for this to become an annual event. In addition to cultural events, the Alliance
Française also offers language classes for all levels of French speakers. Fall classes begin soon.

For more information and to register, go to

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