Didar Domehri • Producer
"On the look out for auteurs"
by Fabien Lemercier
- Interview with producer Didar Domehri, one of European Film Promotion's Producers on the Move for 2017, and a co-producer for Santiago Mitre's new film
One of European Film Promotion's Producers on the Move for 2017, France's Didar Domehri (Maneki Films) will be unveiling Santiago Mitre's The Summit [+see also:
interview: Santiago Mitre
film profile] in the Un Certain Regard section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival (which will run from 17 to 28 May), and is due to start work on the filming of Eva Husson's Les Filles du Soleil, featuring Golshifteh Farahani, in September. We met her last January.
After working as Director of Sales at Films Distribution [+see also:
interview: Carlos Vermut
film profile] between 2001 and 2009, Domehri moved into production, setting up Parisian company Maneki Films. The company, which now has 10 feature films under its belt (by Laurent Cantet, Santiago Mitre, Pablo Trapero and Wang Xiaoshuai, among others), is attending the CineMart (from 29 January to 1 February 2017) at the 45th Film Festival Rotterdam with project Girls of the Sun by Eva Husson, a filmmaker whose first feature: A Modern Love Story) [+see also:
interview: Eva Husson
film profile], was produced by Didar Domehri.
Cineuropa: What is Girls of the Sun about?
Didar Domehri: In August 2015, Eva Husson told me about a group of former captives of extremists, who had taken up arms to defend themselves and called themselves "the girls of the sun". I thought it was an extraordinary story that we absolutely had to make into a film to pay tribute to these women, to tell the story of their resistance and their refusal to be made into victims, even when they’d been through the worst. We’ve been working on the project for a year and a half, and we’ve done a lot of research and held lots of interviews. Eva has put together hours of accounts. The screenplay centres around a Yazidi Kurdish lawyer as she tells a French journalist the story of her captivity and how she managed to escape to end up becoming the commander of a battalion of girls of the sun, this army made up of Yazidi Kurdish women. We’re going to finalise European funding for the film at the Cinemart, then in Berlin as part of the Rotterdam-Berlin Express. Shooting is set to begin in September 2017.
What is the editorial line of Maneki Films ?
I like working on arthouse films. The script is always crucial, but what I’m really interested in is the perspective of the filmmaker and the way she directs. It’s also wonderful to see a filmmaker born and then be able to assist them with their subsequent films. That’s what happened with Bang Gang, which was a bit of a battle, as it wasn’t easy to secure funding due to its subject matter and because it was a debut piece. But in the end, we got everything we were hoping for, and the film had a very successful international career, with sales in over 30 territories and screenings at a huge number of festivals. Our gamble paid off: we succeeded in bringing France and the rest of the world a director with a very specific world who has things to say.
You’re also working for the second time, but this time in co-production, with Argentinian director Santiago Mitre.
I don’t distinguish between French and foreign directors. I like to meet them and help those I believe in. I met Santiago Mitre through Pablo Trapero, who I worked with on 7 Days in Havana [+see also:
film profile] and White Elephant [+see also:
film profile]. At the time, Santiago was Pablo’s co-screenwriter, and he was shooting his first feature film as a director, El Estudiante. When he showed it to me, I was very impressed and we decided to work together on his second film, right from the writing stage and in co-production with Agustina Llambi Campbell (La Union de los Ríos). So we gathered together funding for Paulina [+see also:
film profile], which went on to enjoy a very successful international career, most notably winning the Grand Prix in Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2015. And of course we wanted to work on his third film: The Summit - see news article). Filming wrapped in November in Argentina and Chile, and post-production is taking place in France. The film, a co-production between Argentina (K&S et La Union de Los Rios), France and Spain (Mod), is currently in the editing stages. In France, we’re working with Arte France Cinéma, world cinema aid from the CNC, and Memento on the distribution side of things. The film, which will be sold internationally by Film Factory, took us to new production levels in terms of funding, casting and filming.
What other projects are you currently working on?
Through Full House, the umbrella company for Maneki Films and Borsalino Productions, we just finished shooting Pickpocket by British filmmaker Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring [+see also:
film profile]) in December. The film was shot entirely in Colombia and is currently in the editing stages.
What are your medium and long-term goals?
To keep being on the look out for auteurs, whilst assisting them with their subsequent films, with filmmakers with strong worlds to present, and potential in France and internationally.
(Translated from French)
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