Industry Report: Documentary
Bruno Nahon • Producer, Zadig Productions, Paris, France
- Do you have an annual production budget?
It was 4 to 5 million € in 2008.
What do you look for in a project?
I have an obsession with the author. It means that a project needs to be shot and directed by the author. It has to be deeply real, something that has a meaning, with a great point of view and a new way to tell the world. The ‘Twenty Show’, which I created and produced, is a good example; the goal was how to portray the young generation with their main tools, which are the web and the video blog. It is the opposite of a journalistic approach, because we did not go on the streets and say ‘young people are depressed or they are silly’, we built an entire process with MySpace and ARTE to make this film. We tried to do it in an organic way, the opposite to the traditional way of making a report or a film.
Then I produced a History of Early Cinema for ARTE, it was at the Berlin Film Festival this year; a three hours and a half project and now I’m moving into fiction.
Do you do co-productions with other countries?
Not a lot, I would love to do more, but it is really hard for me to find a good place, because I do not like to be the father of the project, but to have my input on the writing, the editing, the marketing, etc, and if I’m a co-producer it is not that easy.
The financial part of it is important, but it is probably only five per cent of the work.
How has the economic recession affected the projects you are looking at?
In France there has been a big reform in public broadcasting, so this redistribution of the whole system plus the recession is complicated, but I’m not complaining. The past three years were great, 2009 is more about development, and I can’t produce all the time. I have produced ten films between 2008 and 2009, so I now need to calm down and think about future and things I want to watch as a viewer, whether it is documentary or fiction.
What are the most relevant funding sources for documentary in your country?
Public broadcasters and the State; public subventions and lots of small amounts of money come from companies or other regions such as Cantabria, Catalonia, and internationally.
Although documentary in France is really badly financed. Compared to the UK, for an hour long documentary in France you get 50 per cent less of the money. Therefore you need to be more creative. I stick to the idea of the author because it means that a given film can only be made by that certain person. At National Geographic, for example, there are one hundred guys who could do the same film, it is market-oriented, like H&M TV.
Documentary Campus, 23 & 24 May 2009
Faster, Keener, Leaner, Meaner: Survival of the Fittest in Factual