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“Lavoro ai film come se fossero un’opera d’arte”

Rapporto industria: Documentario

Orlane Dumas • Produttrice, L'image d'après


La produttrice francese spiega perché produce documentari e dove trova il loro pubblico

Orlane Dumas  • Produttrice, L'image d'après

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

An interview with Orlane Dumas, producer for French company L'image d'après, now selected for the 2024 Emerging Producers programme. Read her EP profile here.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Orlane Dumas:
At the end of my studies, when I was making my first film, a very silly fictional short, my brother died. My work on the course was so far removed from what was happening in life that I promised myself I would stop working on fiction. Very soon afterwards, when I started working on documentaries at L'image d'après, I discovered a multitude of ways of making cinema. Sometimes the films rub up against fiction. But, perhaps more intensely, with my feet firmly planted in the 'raw' of life, documentary filmmaking allows me to work, denounce, meet, sweat... all the films I work on are very personal looks at a very specific part of the world from the point of view of their author(s). Long before the films are finished, working on them already changes things, in their own lives, in my life and in the lives of the people they film. But I work on the films as if they were a work of art, not as if they were an instrument we could use to convey a message.

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How do you achieve and maintain work-life balance and foster overall well-being?
Generally, my own body sends me alarm signals when I'm working too hard and I need to slow down, which allows me to work a lot, late, early, but also to take regular pauses, long pauses, micro pauses... depending on what's needed. Production takes up a lot of space in my life, but it's the one I've chosen. For example, I'm writing these lines sick. I've stayed at home but I've worked a bit every day. The balance to be found is between passion and health, more than between work and life. So I very regularly have the feeling that I've lost my well-being to an 'all-consuming' job undertaken alongside demanding people, making films that nobody will see... But this feeling doesn't last more than ten minutes.

Where do you find audiences for your films?
The films I have produced are either widely distributed or have a very intimate release... often through no fault of my own. They are first shown at festivals. Sometimes they are released at a festival before falling into limbo. Sometimes they wait more than a year before premiering. Then screenings are organised in film cafés, with associations and in small cinemas. The films and the teams meet people who are already passionate about cinema, friends of friends, locals, people attracted by the subject of the film, etc. Some are shown on French television and sold in DVD form, mainly for the national network of media libraries.

What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
I'm currently working on the production of three films: La maison immobile by Caroline Le Roy, a portrait of a place destined to welcome migrants and then disappear, in post-production; Les Mouettes by Nadejda Tilhou, which follows three 45-year-old actresses as they chart their professional lives in a small French country town. The film is currently being edited. And Lo by Thanassis Vassiliou, a very personal investigation by the director into his own father's involvement in the dictatorship of the colonels in Greece. It is in the final stages of editing. It is now being presented at the Agora of the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival.

To succeed them, six films are being written and developed: 68 ans by Anne Faisandier, a poetic re-discovery of May 68; The Fortress by Romain Kosellek, a journey full of pitfalls across Europe alongside exiles; Liyoutha by Emmanuel Piton, co-written by the eponymous character, a young immigrant from Mayotte island living in Rennes; KnAM by Lionel Retornaz, which follows a dissident Russian immigrant theatre company in Lyon; La saison du feu by Geoffrey Lachassagne, co-written with Quentin Faucheux-Thurion, about fire-fighters battling the great fires and their great demons in Kanaky-Nouvelle-Calédonie; and Au bonheur des morts by Clara Sanz, a portrait of a Spanish cemetery and the people who look after it.


EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2025 edition is 31st March 2024.

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