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Frédéric Jouve • Producer

"If we prevent originality from existing, in ten years’ time, there will be nothing left"

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- Producer Frédéric Jouve talks about Let the Girls Play and Les Films Velvet’s editorial line – from comedies to Rebecca Zlotowski's films

Frédéric Jouve • Producer

On the occasion of the national release of Let the Girls Play [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Julien Hallard, an excellent and intelligent comedy (about the first women's football team in France), Frederic Jouve chats to Cineuropa about the editorial line of his production company Les Films Velvet, his projects with Rebecca Zlotowski, Farid Bentoumi and Grégory Magne, and the financial situation in France. 

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Cineuropa: The comedies you produce, such as Let the Girls Play and Good Luck Sam [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, are quite different to other French films of the genre. How do you feel about this side of your editorial line?
Frederic Jouve: with regard to Let the Girls Play, I’ve worked with the director Julien Hallard for several years and I also produced all of his shorts, which were initially very auteur films and did the rounds at Locarno and Venice, etc. He’s gradually asserted himself in an English indie style of comedy that I like a lot. We were hoping to create a topical comedy, which was also the case with Farid Bentoumi and Good Luck Sam. Pure auteur cinema and comedy is sort of the same thing for me. I don’t have a particular theory about film genres. Anything has the potential to interest me, as long as it is carried by a filmmaker who has something to say, which has been the case for the past 11 years that Les Films Velvet has existed, with the likes of Rebecca Zlotowski, Thierry de Peretti, Farid, Julien, etc. Producing comedies also helps to give society a bit of balance and allows directors to make very authoritative debut films, such as Willy 1er [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which went from Cannes to ACID and which we produced on a fairly small budget, and Let the Girls Play, which we made with Mars on a slightly larger budget. I’m definitely in support of the idea that we should be able to talk about society, either in a serious way, or in a light-hearted way, which can also work, and which allows viewers to enjoy themselves and come out with something to think about.

What are your thoughts on the financial situation of film production in France?
I'm a bit like everyone else, I don't really know. Canal+ and Orange are still around, for now. What’s certain is that things will move very quickly. I understand that Netflix is due to arrive in force this summer in France, with the desire to create French content quickly. This will open up gaps. But at the same time, the problem with Netflix relates to the issue of just being an executive producer of content, rather than a producer. And the films have a very singular exposure. It's a bit like Big Brother is showing up! I think it will mostly depend on the films. It will be very complicated in the near future in terms of the more fragile films, which will inevitably be made for next to nothing. Some of the more established directors will succeed in staying put, but it will be very hard to find new talent, to make different films. Unfortunately, this may standardise productions, but only for a certain period of time. After that, there will definitely be an opportunity for invention. The films that have been successful recently, such as BPM (Beats Per Minute) [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Arnaud Valois
interview: Robin Campillo
film profile
]
or See You Up There [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, have been created by directors who have made very original films in the past, and all the great French auteurs of today, such as Ozon, Desplechin and Assayas, started with very original films. If we prevent originality from existing, in ten years’ time, we won’t have anything left. 

What are your plans for the second half of 2018?
We have various films in the pipeline, such as the Comedy Berline by Gregory Magne (L'Air de rien [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) Rouge by Farid Bentoumi, which is about a whistleblower in a toxic factory, Teddy by Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma, which we are due to co-produce with Baxter Films, and Une fille facile by Rebecca Zlotowski, which will be a 100% French film. And we will also obviously continue to produce short films so that we can discover new directors, because it’s in the DNA of our society.

(Translated from French)

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