Anne-Dominique Toussaint • Producer of Ciudad sin sueño
"It is very important to take all the time needed for development"
- The French producer from Les Films des Tournelles tells us at the Cinemed Meetings about the Spanish project directed by Guillermo García López
Headed by Anne-Dominique Toussaint, Parisian production company Les Films des Tournelles is present at the 44th Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival where she is pitching for the Development Grant of the Cinemed Meetings (read the news) the project Ciudad sin sueño. This will be the first fiction feature by Spanish director Guillermo García López, who won multiple awards with Delicate balance [+see also:
film profile] (among them the 2017 Goya award for Best Documentary).
Cineuropa: How did you discover Guillermo García López’s project and what made you want to get on board?
Anne-Dominique Toussaint: The year before the pandemic, I was on the jury of the Cinéfondation which gives a prize every six months to one of its residents. I was immediately attracted to this project. What I liked first of all, before even meeting the director, was the mix of documentary and fiction. It is a fiction projects, but one that is anchored in an extremely particular place, called La Cañada Real, a huge shantytown in the banlieue of Madrid where 8000 people live. In this place, which can only be real and not reconstructed in fiction, the inhabitants will be the characters in the film, playing not themselves in their own lives, but a story written by Guillermo. Another thing that interests me is that La Cañada Real is very close to a large European capital city, which I find terribly fascinating. Guillermo has been there many times, he has set up a school there as well as workshops, in order to create real connections with the locals: his process is fascinating and it made me want to get involved in the film. It will be shot entirely on location and the story will revolve around issues that truly affect the locals. The majority production will of course have to be Spanish, since it will be shot in Spain and in the Spanish language, but I mentioned as soon as I could that I wanted to be part of it all. The production is therefore headed with Marisa Fernández Armenteros for Buena Pinta Media (which just met great success with Lullaby [+see also:
interview: Alauda Ruiz de Azúa
film profile] by Alauda Ruiz de Azúa) and with Manuel Calvo for Encanta Films. On the French side of things, because Guillermo has just shot a short film in Cañada Real — a sort of experimentation ahead of the feature film — which was produced by Les Valseurs, I thought it would be logical to continue working with them.
What story does Ciudad sin sueño tell?
The film will focus on Ramon, a 13-year-old Roma boy who has always lived at La Cañada Real with his family. With his best friend Saïd, they film the world around them on a mobile phone they share. One day, Saïd tells Ramon that he is going back to Morocco with his family. The family ties begin to dwindle when Ramon’s family is notified that their house is to be demolished. For the first time, Ramon sees a real chance to leave La Cañada behind, unleashing a hidden desire to live a life different from that of his parents, who would do anything to prevent the eviction.
What stage is the project currently at?
We have a first version of the script, but because Guillermo is always going back to Cañada Real, works there and shot that short film there, the writing of the feature changes a lot. Now he needs to refine things, because it is very important to take all the time needed for development. Often, we tell ourselves, “Ok, we have a story, let’s go,” but here, I really think it is worth staying in development for a few more months to arrive at a perfectly realised script that we can present at the financing stage.
What else is new for Les Films des Tournelles?
In development, I currently have several projects at the writing stage which it is too early to talk about, with filmmakers that I’ve already worked with (including Philippe Le Guay) but also newcomers. I love making debut features (I produced those of Nadine Labaki, Riad Sattouf, Emmanuel Carrère, Rachid Djaïdani, Louis Garrel, etc.): they involve more of an artistic exchange, it isn’t just about gathering the financing and making sure that everything goes well. But I also love producing abroad, particularly in Europe. What matters the most, for me, is the encounter with the filmmakers.
(Translated from French)
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