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Carole Scotta • Producer

“You can have as many takes on genre as you have directors”


- We talk to French producer Carole Scotta, of Haut et Court, who presented a project in development at the Frontières Market and discusses the state of genre film

Carole Scotta  •  Producer

Haut et Court, one of France's most prestigious production companies (known for such films as Anne Fontaine's Coco Before Chanel [+see also:
film profile
and Laurent Cantet's Palme d'Or winner The Class [+see also:
film review
interview: Carole Scotta
interview: Laurent Cantet
film profile
), is now venturing into genre films. The Frontières International Co-Production Market in Brussels was the location selected by its founder and director, Carole Scotta, to introduce the newest genre film that the company is producing, Dominique Rocher's The Night Devoured the World. We met up with her.

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Cineuropa: What attracts Haut et Court to genre films?
Carole Scotta:
It is the directors. We've worked in the past with directors like Gilles Marchand, for example, who is very much into genre films. I think genre is great because you can have as many takes on genre as you have directors. So we have never gone into horror films – it has to be films I can watch, and sometimes I really have trouble when it is too gory... My interest lies in seeing a new vision on what genre can be. I have mentioned Marchand, but there's also Robin Campillo, with They Came Back, which was converted into a TV series... And when I met Dominique Rocher, I felt he had a vision that was very idiosyncratic. That is interesting for us because it is not only genre, but also ambition, both visually and based on characters. When you see many genre films, sometimes their weaknesses are in their characters, their evolution... And in this film, you have a good one: in the beginning he is a bit agoraphobic, not really suited for the world as it is, but when he is put in a very extreme situation (thinking that he is the only one left), he asks himself where he can find the strength to survive and what to do it for.

Was this one of the things that drew you to the project?
Not in the beginning, because it's based on a book, but it really is what we tried to explore with this film adaptation.

So is the industry now starting to think that directors' visions can also be in genre films?
Exactly. When you see groundbreaking films such as Let the Right One In [+see also:
film review
interview: John Nordling
interview: Tomas Alfredson
film profile
, you basically see the work of a very strong director, even if it is told through a more conventional code, which is genre. It's a very interesting ground for filmmakers to explore, and to develop their own ideas.

That may be why festivals (Cannes, for instance) are now more open to genre films...
Yes, but I think that the challenge for us in France is to break the theatrical market, which, until now, has not been very open to genre. What we want to explore is how we can achieve success in France, even if we have to open up to TV, finding an attraction and an awareness. Audiences in the UK or in the US are interested in this type of film, and they don't even know the French approaches to it. It will also be good for French talents and cinema to be there. In France, genre film is easier to sell on pay TV than via theatrical distribution. Our main markets for this film are the pay-TV market and the international market, which is also a source of funding for the movie, so our equation is to try to make it into these two markets, while maintaining the quality level that you expect from this kind of title.

Have you found major differences between producing a genre film and producing a non-genre film?
Yes, basically because you don't have a benchmark that tells you “this film has racked up these box-office figures” – because until now, it has fallen off the table. Now there is a young audience who wants to pay for a genre film in French, and I hope we can succeed there. I am not trying to copy the Anglo-Saxon world, nor trying to copy their style in genre. Language can be an essence of uniqueness and idiosyncrasy; it is part of our culture. This is not to say that we only want to shoot in French; we have got projects in different languages, but in this case, this one has been conceived in French, and should be in French.

Do you have any other genre projects in sight?
No; we will concentrate on this one, and then we will see what happens.

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