Most Successful Diplomat

Peter Kirkpatrick, co-director of the French Film Festival, is linked to a high point — and a low one — in Richmond’s relationship with France this year. First, he led the chorus of Richmonders protesting France’s designation of Richmond as a quasi-unsafe city in its tourism advisories (“Do not visit downtown on foot.”). A few months later, the ever-growing festival took place at the Byrd Theatre. And recently a donation of seats from a Cannes theater, which he helped arrange, was turned down by the Byrd Theatre Foundation, which cited costs, logistics and tax implications associated with the gift. Kirkpatrick and his wife, Françoise, sent a news release from the French Film Festival expressing “great disappointment,” while also saying they looked forward “to discussing how best to work together on arriving at a successful outcome for the benefit of all our viewers and for the future of one of America’s last remaining cinema palaces, the Byrd Theatre.”


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