By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

The French comedy, Holidays At All Cost, world premiered at Dances With Films 24 in Los Angeles, followed by screenings at festivals in New York City, Montreal and Germany, and recently won awards in Marbella (Best Story), Edmonton (Jury Award for Best International Feature – Dramatic) and Austria (Best Feature – Austrian Indie Adler Award and Genre Award – Best Comedy). The Austin Film Festival has the honor of hosting the Texas Premiere of writer/director Stevan Lee Mraovitch’s debut feature, that is now the winner of the Comedy Vanguard Feature Award at AFF.

This contemporary French dramedy features Frederic (Oumar Diaw, The Squad, An Ordinary Story, Groom), who is overworked, underpaid, and overcommitted with his finances. He is promised time off from work and has in turn planned a dream vacation for his Catalonian wife Fanny (Donia Eden, The Traveller, #Moscou-Royan, Tomorrow Is Ours) and their young son Max (Swann Nguma-Torre). When he discovers he doesn’t have what he needs from the boss, he is determined to give his family the vacation they have been looking forward to for years. Frederic’s old friend and luxury resort director Jean-Luc (Benjamin Garnier, Chronicles of the Sun, French Women, Monsieur Frere Du Roi) strike a secret deal and vacation is on!

There have been plenty of films about people going on vacation and things don’t turn out the way it was planned. In this scenario, there is more than meets the eye about this vacation and why it went wrong.  Jean-Luc went to school with Fanny and he has intentions beyond being Mr. Nice Guy to Frederic. Jean-Luc has him work at the resort each day in lieu of the cabin for the length of time they stay there. Poor Frederic ends up conducting a series of jobs each day that are either gross, or just plain taking him out of his element, not at all in the tech world he normally does. Garnier portrays an excellent scumbag in this film and the audience will really root for Frederic and Fanny in the long run.

The script is well written as it covers the topics of relationships, caring for self and reaching for goals, even if it is uncomfortable getting to where you want to be. All the cast excel in their roles and once US audiences see the film and performances, they will ask to see more of their future work (as well as this filmmaker’s productions).

The film will screen another time at the Austin Film Festival. The in-person screening will be on Thursday, October 28 at 7:30pm at the Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. Writer/director Stevan Lee Mraovitch will be in attendance. For tickets and information, visit austinfilmfestival.com

Source: Austin Film Festival

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