by Anne Feuillère
- During his studies of business and director training, Sébastien Delloye did an internship at Diana Elbaum’s outfit in 2000. Today he is her associate
Since then he has created his own production studio in Wallonia, Les Ateliers de Baere and teamed up with Patrick Quinet to create French outfit Liaison Cinématographique. Irina Palm [+see also:
interview: Sam Garbarski
interview: Sébastien Delloye
film profile] was three years in the making. But the wait was worth it, with the film enthusiastically received by critics and audiences at the Berlinale this year.
Cineuropa: Irina Palm could be called a textbook case in terms of European co-production.
Sébastien Delloye: Yes, a real textbook case! It involved five co-production countries, funding from Eurimages, the tax shelter, local bodies, television, distributors, various national financiers! Our only surprise was that in the UK, apart from the sale and leaseback system, we didn’t receive any backing when everything was in its favour.
Why wasn’t the film made in Belgium?
I think people found it difficult to imagine this story taking place here. Once the project was turned down by 3 or 4 financiers, we realised that there was a real problem with the script. We couldn’t raise the money we needed. We had to change our tactics and went to England to work with Ipso Facto. It was the golden age of British funds, which funded up to 40% of the budget, something that ended three months later and which meant we had to start over from zero, or almost (laughs)!
Was the script adapted to make an English language co-production easier?
Yes and no. Not only did Sam and I fall in love with Soho but most of all it was clear to us that the film should be set there. Adapting the story to this English setting, with this village, these friends and this family story brought a consistency, which we didn’t have before I have to say. Once we had the English script, Marianne Faithfull and Micki Manojlovic (who was involved in the project since the first versions of the French script), everything went very quickly. It took us only five months to make the film, while we spent a year and a half trying to get financing and the project originally started three years ago.
How did you find financing for the project?
From the outset, through Samsa Film, our co-producer – who also worked with us on The Rashevski Tango and our partner right from the start. We were also backed by the Luxembourg Film Fund and Wallimage. We then sought financing in Germany where Pallas Film did great work: the MDM Förderung invested €500,000, which is enormous. We then had funding from the FFA, the German federal fund. The Tango went down really well in Germany, with close to 70,000 admissions and enthusiastic press reviews, Sam’s name meant something. I had pre-sold the film to Canada, the Benelux and I had an offer for France… Once we had our base, everything happened very quickly. Lastly, Pyramide bought the film then Canal+ provided funding a week before we started filming – the last good news.