Kamen Kalev shooting Tête baissée
by Fabien Lemercier
- In a production led by Le Pacte, Melvil Poupaud plays a gangster whom the French police use to infiltrate the Bulgarian mafia
After a week of filming in Marseille, shooting of Kamen Kalev’s Tête baissée [+see also:
film profile] is now continuing in Sofia, according to our sources. This French majority production, in collaboration with Belgium and Bulgaria, is the third feature by the Bulgarian filmmaker (who was trained at the La Fémis film school in Paris). His first two works were selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes (Eastern Plays [+see also:
interview: Kamen Kalev
film profile] in 2009 and The Island [+see also:
film profile] in 2011). Heading up the cast in Tête baissée is Melvil Poupaud (Laurence Anyways [+see also:
film profile]); the title also stars Youssef Hajdi and Hocine Choutri.
Written by the director himself along with Emmanuel Courcol (who was nominated for the César Award in 2010 for Welcome [+see also:
interview: Philippe Lioret
film profile]), the screenplay focuses on Samy, a young man arrested by the French authorities. Accused of trafficking counterfeit money between France and Bulgaria, he agrees to become an informer for the French police and infiltrates the Bulgaian mafia as a pimp. Little by little, he falls in love with Elka, an underage Romany prostitute who he takes with him in order to scope out a network that he doesn’t know too well. Torn between his deal with the police and the Bulgarian mafiosi, he unavoidably gets swept along and becomes a real pimp, before realising that he has lost the very thing he still had that was dearest to him: his dignity.
A French majority production (with a share of 63.12%) by Jean Labadie for Le Pacte, Tête baissée is being co-produced by Belgium (with 20.30% - John Engel for Left Field Ventures) and Bulgaria (with 16.58% - Elitza Katrzarska for Waterfront Film). Pre-bought by Ciné+, and with a budget of €2 million, the movie is also being helped along by an advance on receipts by the CNC, Eurimages, Wallonie-Bruxelles Images, Belgacom, the Belgian tax shelter and the Sofica Cinémage. Filming is due to take nine weeks. French distribution and international sales (except for Benelux and Bulgaria) will be handled by Le Pacte.
(Translated from French)