"A real auteur film"
by Fabien Lemercier
- Dominique Barneaud is a member of the young generation of producers at Agat Films & Cie
A member of the young generation of producers at Agat Films & Cie, ardent defenders of auteur cinema, Dominique Barneaud talks to us about Laurent Achard’s Demented [+see also:
interview: Dominique Barneaud
interview: Laurent Achard
film profile], which he produced with director Robert Guédiguian.
Cineuropa: How did Agat originally get involved in the production of Demented?
Dominique Barneaud: We had worked with Laurent several times before and his debut feature intrigued us and attracted our attention. When we found out he wanted to adapt Timothy Findley, we seized the opportunity and very quickly got an option on the rights. Everything went quite quickly in terms of writing and starting the film. We are there to accompany the visions and the desires of directors. We are not, however, dictate the content of a film, we also give our opinion on what seems fair, coherent, on the choices to make in relation to the length of the film and on which elements to use in which part of the production.
How did you go about getting the budget together?
When this type of vision of initimist auteur does not meet other criteria of films aimed at the market in a special genre (fantastic, comedy or thriller), securing sufficient financing is quite difficult. We were turned down by television channels who find it difficult to commit to such specialised films. They find the director interesting but the film too black, too hard hitting. But we succeeded in getting financing from all other sources: two regions (Rhône-Alpes and (Burgundy), advances in receipts from the Centre National de la Cinématographie, a co-production with Belgian outfit Versus Production and selective funding from the Communauté française de Belgique. Although we didn’t have a huge budget, the film could be made under quite good conditions: seven weeks of filming, in 35mm and with the actors Laurent wanted.
Is Demented representative of films produced by Agat ?
It is quite emblematic because it is a real auteur film, a real film for cinema, which provokes strong reactions and shocks and moves the audience. We are very proud to have produced such a strong film. And we are among the very few producers still making this kind of film. We already have a new project with Laurent Achard, which we are hoping to start on next summer. A very beautiful story and certainly a more accessible one that tackles recurrent themes of Laurent’s films but from an adult perspective with four main roles that we hope to release with four main roles, two of which we hope to give to well-known actors. In doing so, Laurent will make a category of film that gives us a better chance of getting better financing.