by Fabien Lemercier
- Following Love at First Fight come This Summer Feeling and Si tu voyais son coeur from the young producer from Nord-Ouest Films
The first feature film for producer Pierre Guyard (Nord-Ouest Films), Love at First Fight [+see also:
interview: Thomas Cailley
film profile], enjoyed a great deal of success, having been selected at the Directors’ Fortnight 2014, and receiving a barrage of awards and prizes: the FIPRESCI Prize in the parallel sections, the Europa Cinemas Label, the SACD Prize and the Art Cinema Award on the Croisette, three César Awards in 2015 (Best Debut Film, Best Actress, Most Promising Actor), as well as Best Debut Feature from the French Critics' Union. Cineuropa caught up with Guyard in Paris to talk about his selection by European Film Promotion as a Producer on the Move 2015.
Cineuropa: What have the major steps along your journey been?
Pierre Guyard: I studied economics, while at the same time setting up a film club. Then, I enrolled at La Fémis, in the distribution-exhibition faculty. When I finished my studies, I was hired straight away by Nord-Ouest as the director of finances on productions by Christophe Rossignon and Philip Boëffard, before becoming an associate producer in the company. After learning how the market was structured, I realised I wanted to be a producer: first of all, it’s a profession that requires you to work in constant contact with people from the artistic and financial domains, with creators, with everyone. Secondly, producers bridge the gap between all of the other film-industry professions, from a cinematographer to a distributor, from a make-up artist to an accountant, without forgetting a video editor.
What types of films would you like to produce?
Movies with directors that engage me beyond a simple film, which I’m ready to completely commit myself to. The genre of the film isn’t what’s important; it’s the personalities and philosophies of the directors. Being a producer at Nord-Ouest is like being part of a family, but with freedom, economic independence and complete creative licence. But there’s a shared belief, which is that films should be brought to life by filmmakers with a unique vision of the world, and with a desire to really move audiences. I share this ideal: Love at First Fight is a very different film to This Summer Feeling (read the article – in post-production), which itself is very different to the third film I’m producing, Joan Chemla’s Si tu voyais son coeur, which begins filming in autumn with Gael Garcia Bernal and Marine Vacth in the cast. The first was more on the light-hearted, romantic side, the second is a rather delicate work, and the third will be a very dark film, perhaps even quite violent.
What’s your take on the current state of funding for French productions?
Every project is different, and not all films need the same support. It’s quite complex, achieving that balance between funding and the uniqueness of each film. For feature films between €2 million and €3 million that I’m working on at the moment, there are solutions. On a similar budget, the two films that I’ve produced so far had completely different financing structures: one was pre-purchased by Canal+, the other not; one was an all-French production, the other an international co-production. In France, we nevertheless have access to an extremely well-structured system: TV channels, like Canal+, leading the way, which bravely and uniquely support first and second features, extremely professional and film-loving independent distributors that are willing to take risks, an unusual redistribution system with more than 20 debut films per year that receive an advance on receipts from the CNC, regional assistance and tax credits, which have just been secured. We’re in a very positive environment and a better situation than many other countries. It’s true that things are getting more and more complicated, but I’m young, and I’ll continue to naively believe that if a project is good, and as long as it finds that economic and artistic balance, it will attract the contributors it needs.
What do you expect from the meeting with other Producers on the Move at Cannes?
Firstly, I expect I’ll be met with views on the way films can be made, and what might become of producing films in the future. Also, the possibility of perhaps meeting others who will motivate me to be a minority producer for one of the films presented there, or to find a minority producer for one of my own projects. Any meeting place for ideas allows us to expand our global vision.
(Translated from French)