Gamble pays off for Les Films de la Strada
by Fabien Lemercier
- Producer of 13 (Tzameti), les Films de la Strada managed the metamorphosis of a medium film into a feature
A gamble that has paid off handsomely for a company for whom this first success is just the beginning. Fanny Saadi, one of the trio of producers with Gela Babluani and Jean-Baptiste Legrand, looks back .
Cineuropa: 13 is the first feature produced by les Films de la Strada
Fanny Saadi : The company Les Films de la Stada was founded in 2000 by Gela Babluani, and the other associates, including me, arrived a year later. At the outset , we wanted to turn this screenplay into a medium length film. At first we made projects for which we could find the money: short films (notably A fleur de peau by Gela Baluani) and documentaries, and four years ago, the company launched itself into the total self-financing of 13, almost completely with its own funds. We had a contribution from the National Film Centre which was coming to its end and we began the first shoot in December 2003 as a short-to-medium film. But the film found its form as a feature, with the particularity of been shot over two years in three sessions.
How did you find your co-production partners?
MK2 Productions came in at the second shooting session. We had a cut that gave a very good idea of the film’s intentions (the Russian roulette circle section). We sent off the DVDs and MK2 decided to come onboard as co-producers just as we preparing the third session which would turn the film into a feature-length project. Solimane Production and Quasar Pictures arrived slightly later and helped us with post-production while MK2 gave us a real shot in the arm to complete the film in the comfort we hadn’t enjoyed up until that point. We got 152 000 euros of post-production Advance on receipts from the CNC. It was a bit complicated when we had to explain to the CNC that the short film had become long, we had to redo all the paperwork, the agreements. In total, the budget for 13 (Tzameti) was 1,4 million euros.
What are the company’s short-term plans?
Last summer we began shooting, in Georgia, L’âme perdue du sommet co-directed by Gela and his father Temour Babluani. For this film, the CNC gave us a pre-production advance on receipts. Quasar Pictures is the new co-producer and MK2 will distributed the film in France on the 24th May and handle international sales. Also, we hope to continue producing for Gela Babluani, even though that may be difficult because we are still a small company.