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Charles Gillibert • Producer

“Ambitious films with international potential”


- Cineuropa met up with Charles Gillibert, who, together with CG Cinéma, produced Clouds of Sils Maria and Eden

Charles Gillibert  • Producer

After having produced almost 40 short films and 17 features for MK2, Charles Gillibert (36) went on to found CG Cinéma, which kicked off its operations with the Cannes competitor Clouds of Sils Maria [+see also:
film review
interview: Charles Gillibert
interview: Olivier Assayas
film profile
 by Olivier Assayas (read the review – to be released in France on 20 August) and Eden by Mia Hansen-Løve (read the article – scheduled for release on 19 November). In addition, he has several projects in development.

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Cineuropa: How did you manage to produce Clouds of Sils Maria, with its top-notch cast (Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart), for a measly budget of €5.1 million?
Charles Gillibert: Actors don’t look to do this type of film without knowing that they can’t ask for the same amount of money as they’d get for a blockbuster or a comedy. So the cast wasn’t an excessive expenditure. And then, it’s a co-production that was set up with Germany (the only country in Europe where you can truly fund ambitious English-language films), Switzerland and Italy. We had regional funds, towns, tax credits and so on… There were about 35 institutions that funded the movie.

Is this increase in possible sources of funding a blessing or a curse?
It’s a fairly monstrous mechanism, but it gives you the chance to make ambitious arthouse films with investors who don’t necessarily expect an immediate or very high return on their investment, and who don’t exert an unhealthy commercial pressure on the film. But that wouldn’t have been enough if Olivier Assayas wasn’t very well known in the United States, which enabled us to do some pre-sales over there, and if there wasn’t a significant international market for his movies. Arthouse films that are ambitious in terms of their budget and from an artistic point of view are becoming extremely difficult to find funding for.

How did you manage to see Eden through to completion when two producers failed to do so before you?
I’ve been a huge fan of Mia Hansen-Løve ever since she started. And then, I began by producing shorts, but also by founding the MK2 Music label in the early 2000s. I’m from the French Touch generation, the generation of these young French DJs and electronic music composers. So I was very much drawn to Eden. It was impossible for Mia Hansen-Løve not to be backed by the CNC and the Ile-de-France region on such a major project. By providing a fresh look and presenting the project in a different way, we eventually got the Ile-de-France region’s backing, the place where the French Touch movement was born. We were also able to have a strong influence on the budget by coming up with a less intense shooting method, and thanks to my history with the record labels, that had an influence on the not-insignificant expenditure for the music. I also successfully approached private investors by asking them to believe in what I imagined the value of the film to be, which we didn’t see eye-to-eye on with the international sales agents in terms of figures. And all of that whilst confiding in the director, who knew that I was raising the money while at the same time getting the production and the filming kicked off. We toyed with something that was fairly dangerous, which turned out to be rewarding and, in the end, not so dangerous after all if you take into account the quality of the project and the director, and an economic balance that I thought was quite sound and matches the film’s potential.

What is CG Cinéma’s editorial policy?
It’s to support writer-directors on ambitious films with international potential. It’s also to avoid marginalising small-budget arthouse films, as everyone tends to do – particularly among the operators, distributors, sales agents and others, who are again seeing the value of arthouse films plummet, apart from for genre films and movies that manage to reach secondary-market audiences (DVD, VoD). I still believe in the movie theatre and in a supply-side policy that means that when you produce good films, there’s an audience there to watch them.

What other projects do you have coming up?
I approached producer Christie Molia to get her to continue with the development of Lost in Paris by Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, which will be shot next year. And I’m also producing the next film by Mia Hansen-Løve, L'avenir, starring Isabelle Huppert, with the shoot scheduled for April-May 2015.

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(Translated from French)

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