Producer on the Move 2007 - France
by Fabien Lemercier
Co-scriptwriter on several films made by her late husband, filmmaker Maurice Pialat, including Police and Van Gogh, Sylvie Pialat also adapted for him the novel Under Satan’s Son (Palme d’Or at Cannes 1987).
Pialat founded Films du Worso in 2004. Her credits include four features: Patrick Grandperret’s Murderers [+see also:
film profile] and Julie Gavras’ 2006 Blame It on Fidel [+see also:
film profile], released in 2006, as well as Sébastien Betbeder’s The Cloud and Nicolas Boukhrief’s Cortex, due for release in autumn 2007. The 2007 Cannes Classics section will present another of her productions, the documentary Maurice Pialat, Love Exists.
Cineuropa: Why did you decide to set up your own production outfit?
Sylvie Pialat: I already knew the area because Maurice and I had a production outfit and we worked closely with Daniel Toscan du Plantier. But when Maurice passed away, I had to ask myself how I was going to earn a living. My first decision was to stay in cinema. Then I felt that I could be useful in the area of production. So I started with the documentary Un voyage chez les Woodabés.
What is the production philosophy at Les Films du Worso?
I try to do this profession by staying on the side of the directors without being alarmed by the financial aspects. The company’s production capacity is a maximum two films per year because we’re small, and we want to stay that way. But so far I haven’t turned down a single project: all of them went into production and were released. That’s my vision of working as a producer: doing one film at a time, not being a rep working on 36 projects at once. Even if I have the same tribulations as all independent producers, I got a big helping hand from Gaumont. I was new in the profession, but my past made it difficult to start from zero, that means not paying the directors, not depending on public funding… I therefore had to look for a partner and I found Gaumont. Even if no enormous sums were at stake, I had the chance to work on projects that were a little more ambitious.
How do you choose the projects?
Each of the four features I produced are very different. It’s when I meet with the directors that I decide. I think there a lot of directors nowadays that need spokespeople for cinema, someone who talks to them about their films. I thought that French cinema needed Patrick Grandperret, I produced one of the shorts by Sébastien Betbeder before his feature, then Nicolas Boukhrief came along with a subject and after that Alain Guiraudie, whose Le roi de l’évasion is scheduled to shoot in August. I’m also producing subsequent films by directors such as Julie Gavras, whose next title goes into production in 2008.
How do you feel about your selection as a Producer On The Move 2007?
I haven’t been producing for very long, so it’s an important recognition. Cinema is a good way to get Europe involved. I almost co-produced Cortex with Belgium and I’d like to work with Spain for Guiraudie’s film. Whether the subjects are contemporary or historic, it would be impossible for me today not to work with other European countries. Eastern European countries have fascinating film industries with such directors as Bela Tarr and Romania is a melting pot of exceptional directors. France, however, with its enormous production support system, compared to other European countries, is not always open enough in contrast to Sweden or Denmark, who are true European citizens.
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