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“Directors can continue to make progress with their projects”

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Sylvie Suire • Director, Cinemed Meetings

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- We met up with Sylvie Suire, director of the three-day professional sidebar of the Cinemed, the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpellier

Sylvie Suire  • Director, Cinemed Meetings

At the 38th edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpellier, we chatted to Sylvie Suire, director of the professional sidebar of the gathering, to break down the Cinemed Meetings, three whole days (25, 26 and 27 October) dedicated to film professionals.

Cineuropa: What are the main objectives of the Cinemed Meetings?
Sylvie Suire: It’s all about putting directors in touch with producers, the vast majority of whom are French, but who also hail from other countries around the Mediterranean. It all hinges on the Development Aid Grants, which have reached their 26th edition this year. They allow filmmakers to pitch their feature-film projects in front of a jury and to win grants provided by bodies such as the CNC. In this way, directors can continue to make progress with their projects and benefit from financial support and writing residencies. And we wanted to flesh out what we could offer around this. Indeed, directors used to come for two or three days; they pitched for half an hour, and that was it – they just waited for the results. But now, since we have a huge number of professionals on the ground here in Montpellier as part of the festival, we might as well give the filmmakers the chance to talk to them during one-to-one meetings. This allows them to forge much more personal connections that can extend beyond the project being pitched and touch on the whole body of projects that the directors are working on.

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What are the selection criteria for the Development Aid Grants (read the news about the projects accepted this year)?
Obviously, the person coming with the project has to be from one of the countries of the Mediterranean, or in the case of a French director, the subject matter has to be related to the Mediterranean. Then, we choose projects that we wish to support on an artistic level, which are consistent in terms of their budget. There are completely different economic scales, with the budgets of the 15 projects selected this year ranging from €464,000 to €2 million. And of course, we also consider what the directors have done in the past, as they must have at least one short film under their belt. In addition, we try to have a good variety in representing the many countries of the Mediterranean.

What about the "From Short to Feature" section?
We had noticed that almost half of the projects vying for the Development Aid Grants were coming from short-filmmakers who had been in competition with us before. So last year, we decided to found this section entitled "From Short to Feature" and to incorporate it in the professional sidebar. It allows the directors selected in competition with a short film at Cinemed to put forward one or more feature-length projects that they wish to develop, in which case we present them to the professionals attending Montpellier, who can also meet up with these filmmakers during individual meetings. It’s an opportunity to find a producer, a co-producer, a financier or people who can help you to make progress with the writing. Incidentally, three projects that were presented in "From Short to Feature" in 2015 have continued to progress and have been selected for this year’s Aid Grant: Le boulevard Babel by Gheorge PredaLa mort des chevaux noirs by Ferit Karahan and Les Quinze by Michel Zarazir. And there are three movies in competition and in the Feature Panorama that took part in the Aid Grant. We’re really fond of this type of follow-up here in Montpellier. 

How does Cinemed Meetings intend to grow in the future?
The number of professionals that come is on the rise each year, as is the number of meetings organised with the projects. It’s growing little by little. It’s not about building a film market, nor is it about competing with the big co-production platforms that have been around for years, but we are beginning to bring together many professionals who make the trip to Montpellier because they know that it’s a good place to discover a certain type of project.

(Translated from French)

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