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PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE 2019

Grégoire Debailly • Productor, Geko Films

"Lo que importa es captar la vida"

por 

- Entrevistamos al productor francés Grégoire Debailly, de Geko Films, con motivo de su selección en los Producers on the Move de la European Film Promotion

Grégoire Debailly • Productor, Geko Films

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

Having graduated from La Fémis in 2005, French producer Grégoire Debailly (Geko Films) has put his name to all of Samuel Collardey’s films: The Learner [+lee también:
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(crowned Best Film during Critics’ Week in Venice 2008), Little Lion [+lee también:
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, Land Legs [+lee también:
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(Best Actor in the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival) and A Polar Year [+lee también:
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(in competition at Sundance last year). Also standing out among his filmography are Of Women and Horses [+lee también:
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by Patricia Mazuy (unveiled on Locarno’s Piazza Grande in 2011), Gente de bien [+lee también:
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by Franco Lolli (Cannes’ Critics’ Week 2014) and Shéhérazade [+lee también:
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by Jean-Bernard Marlin (Cannes’ Critics’ Week last year and winner of the 2019 César for Best First Film). He has been selected as one of 2019’s Producers on the Move by the European Film Promotion

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Cineuropa: What have been the most important milestones in your journey as a producer?
Grégoire Debailly
: For my first full-length film, The Learner, we began filming without having full funding in place and that was a real formative experience. It encouraged a real spirit of emulation between me and the director, Samuel Collardey, and we worked in much the same way for all of his subsequent films. Otherwise, ever since my earlier ventures, in terms of my editorial approach, I work along the lines of a documentary. What’s important is capturing life, often with non-professional actors, in natural settings and with strong parallels between the lives of the characters and those of the people they’re playing, which is the case for Land Legs, Gente de bien and Shéhérazade, for example. I think that the strict division between documentary and fiction is somewhat obsolete. What interests me more than anything is whether the film is fair.

What’s your opinion on the state of funding for the type of auteur cinema you promote?
I work it out as I go. Yes, things change, and we adapt, but it’s a question of circumstance. Shooting a film before securing full finance isn’t necessarily linked to impatience and pride, it’s more about the constraints of real life. A Polar Year was about a man who was going to spend his first year as a teacher in a small village in Greenland, so we had to be there at the start of the school year! For Land Legs, it was to do with the storm we needed in the film [ndlt. The original French title of the film, Tempête, translates as “Storm”]. It also provides us with material - as we have images rather early on in the process – which we can then show to potential future partners to win them over. But I’m not holding this approach up as a model, as the French system is generally designed to avoid this way of working.

What projects are you working on?
Samuel Collardey and I are currently exploring a whole new world, as we’re putting together a documentary series: Moochie. It’s a true-crime thriller along the lines of Making a Murderer; at this stage, it’s a 6 x 52 min. series, but that might change. It’s the story of an oil empire heiress who’s found dead with multiple stab wounds and tied up in the bath of her beautiful Florida villa. Initially, the authorities suspect her family, but then the inquiry comes to an end when a young black man who has committed a few burglaries is accused. Samuel and I believe he’s not guilty and we felt for him. He’s been in prison for five years and the prosecutor is pushing for the death penalty. As the subject is American, it’s a project which we can seek international funding for, because it could equally be of interest to the Japanese, the Germans, the French... Of course, we’re going to look for money in the US, but we’re also looking elsewhere.

I’ve also got Lucía en el limbo by Valentina Maurel in the short films competition of Cannes’ Critics’ Week this year; she’s a Costa Rican filmmaker who studied in Belgium and who won first prize in the Cinéfondation section of Cannes with Paul is Here. Lucía en el limbo is a short film which we made in anticipation of a full-length film currently being written. In addition, Jour2Fête will distribute La Dernière vie de Simon by Léo Karmann which – I’m going to say it for the benefit of my producer colleagues – Diaphana dropped mid-route despite the promises it had made. And finally, I’m going to produce A l’abordage, the next fiction feature film by Guillaume Brac (Tonnerre [+lee también:
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), which is a love story featuring students from the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique.

What are you expecting from your sojourn in Cannes as a Producer on the Move?
As French-on-French funding can sometimes be haphazard, it’s always good to have European allies.

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(Traducción del francés)

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