"A Difficult Film to Finance"
by Fabien Lemercier
- For Les Films Pelléas, the producer of the last three films of the Larrieu brothers, an expression of loyalty
Philippe Martin, producer of the Larrieu brothers’ last three films for Les Films Pelléas, looks back on the creative and financial origins of To Paint or Make Love [+see also:
interview: Arnaud & Jean-Marie Larrieu
interview: Philippe Martin
film profile]. While awaiting the opportunity to resume his collaboration with the brothers, Philippe Martin will, this autumn, preside over the shooting of Pierre Salvadori’s Hors de prix, starring Gad Elmaleh and Audrey Tautou.
Cineuropa : Why have you remained loyal to the Larrieus?
Philippe Martin : Let’s not forget that they’ve made a lot of films without me, in particular their short films and their first full-length feature film Fin d’été, although they did offer me the chance to produce that one. For a long time they relied on their own ingenuity to ferret out the necessary funding. Our short films department then produced La Brèche de Roland after which, naturally enough, we decided to offer them a feature film (A Man, A Real Man). As a rule, we try to remain loyal to the writers we work with. We’ve produced not only the first, but also subsequent films by directors such as Jean-Paul Civeyrac and Pierre Salvadori. As regards the Larrieus, they are writers that I am particularly fond of, who make really good films and with whom I love working.
Tel us about the financing of To Paint...?
It wasn’t easy, because the script didn’t really inspire confidence and, strangely, a great cast list didn’t open any doors, either. We did get an advance against receipts from CNC, but there was no advance purchase from any of the TV channels. We hung on in there for quite a while until Rhône-Alpes Cinéma committed, becoming a major partner by investing considerably. This gave the deal credibility, as did the involvement of Pyramide, an equally important partner, since they came in at a time when other potential investors were humming and hawing. This afforded us a … presence. France 2 then committed, then Canal+ and TPS for a second window. But it’s a film that was made with little financial backing, for an estimated 4.26 million euros.
Were you involved in the casting process?
I had just produced a film with Daniel Auteuil (Après vous [+see also:
film profile]). Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu mentioned his name and I dropped theirs to him. Daniel is quite … I mean, he likes working with young directors, but doesn’t often sign on for first or second films. But the strong working relationship we had developed probably swung things in our favour. In the end, he got on really well with the Larrieus.
What kind of producer are you, one always on set or one who supervises from afar?
First you must realise that there are several producers working for Pelléas: Lola Gans, Géraldine Michelot (who produced To Paint... with me) and David Thion. To reply to your question, it depends on the film and on the director’s needs. Arnaud and Jean-Marie form a two-man team and talk a lot together, so they require less producer input than others. In general, I tend to visit other sets more, as the Larrieus don’t like to have the producer hanging around. They prefer to get it together with their team, their actors. Foreign bodies, even friendly ones, are to be repelled at all costs!