The Grundtvigs Church (1913-1940) in Copenhagen, was designed by Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint and built by six master bricklayers and their assistants in the period of twenty-seven years, and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta (1290-1591) in Orvieto, was planned and executed by many master masons and craftsmen in the period of three hundred years. How do you choose the buildings you want to shoot for your series Photography and beyond and what kind of effect do you try to reach through the comparison of several architectural styles & periods?

The choice of the buildings is quite eclectic and personal. I do not film what is de rigueur or what represents some kind of textbook knowledge on architecture. Just like “film history” “architecture history” does not exist, but has to be evoked and renewed again and again. As a cameraman I like complicated spaces, and in the series Photography and beyond I only film what I like. Two Basilicas is a confrontation and comparison of two church buildings, which could hardly be more different, but also a dialogue between various concepts of church and community. The cathedral in Orvieto is a community achievement of great craftsmanship and the church in Copenhagen is a strictly constructed dogma. Horizontal meets vertical, North meets South, mysticism meets joie de vivre, Protestantism meets Catholicism, clarity meets complexity. When it comes to a matter of the ideology of holy sites and the reflection and contemplation made possible inside them: it is the tension between the beauty of craftsmanship and the political intentions involved. I do not care for effects.

Your still shots revolve around vast and intriguing architectures, which are captured in a very careful scenography that situates them into the “everyday life”. They try to show them from every perspective as a drawn sketch would, whereas, at the same time, the framing keeps defying normal perception. What type of experience of architecture do your refined compositions suggest?

It is a personal vision that tries to match up to the reality of the buildings. I do not believe in objective gazes like “architecture photography” that stages ideal states of its objects and isolates them, or offers these ridiculous renderings. A well-grounded and composing cinematography is everything. In film I do have the time and space to recreate a real space, with duration and sound, and not an idealized one.

The film is strongly committed to the searching of textures and details within the building’s own characteristics, but also within the image itself – since the very contrasting colour grading helps emphasizing stone’s own roughness. What is your interest in this and has something changed since you switched from silver photography to HD camera?

Basically I am not interested in techniques, but in results. I cared for high-resolution images to represent and recreate spaces and negative spaces between buildings in the cinema space, and do a deep study of materials. So, when the digital cameras surpassed the limits of 35mm film I switched to digital. I am not a celluloid junkie. Perhaps some fetishists are still attracted to it, but I have been through that, from 8 to 35mm. Handling analogue film prints was a pest.

How does sound – not directly recorded with every shot, but sometimes overlapping it – influences your compositions? How does it relate to the feeling of indoor and outdoor?

The sounds in my film, their recording and designing is an integral part of my work, and the sound editing consumes just as much time as the editing of the visuals. I only use sounds recorded at the sites I film, no archival material allowed. We take sound from all camera directions, and then mix them to get a fluid continuum. The sounds from the off create a great tension between future, present and past.

Barnabé Sauvage

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Capsule #3 : Meeting with Rouge International

Friday, March 30, ParisDOC offered the 3rd and last Capsule of this 5th edition. This was the occasion of a meeting between the professionals and the two leaders of Rouge International, Julie Gayet and Nadia Turincev.

After a quick introduction from Anaïs Desrieux, head of ParisDOC, moderator Pamela Pianezza, journalist and photographer, briefly summarized the background and personality of each of the two women and the line-up of Red International which includes movies such as Raw, Mimosas, Faces Places, The Insult, The Ride or Of Rolls and Men. Pamela Pianezza also recalled the motto of the company which is “The universal begins when one pushes their kitchen’s walls”.

To the question « what is a film Rouge International ? », Julie Gayet and Nadia Turincev have demonstrated this claimed universality, their eclecticism while explaining that there were no specific types of film they want to do, that what they want above all is to be surprised: “We want to make films that we do not have the sensation of having already seen and our choice mainly depends on the uniqueness of the filmmaker’s gaze. We do not put films in boxes, no matter whether they are documentary or fiction, they just have to touch us with their themes and their approaches », they explained. If the choice of projects is based on the unanimity of the tandem, a bonus to the firm favorite is also one of their main way of picking a project.

Julie Gayet and Nadia Turincev have known each other since 1993. The first one is an actress, particularly interested in production. The second works in the production field but also as an artistic director especially for the Moscow Festival or in the selection committee at the Directors’ Fortnight. The desire to create Rouge International in 2007 was born from this wish to produce, to see the birth of authors and to accompany them: “One year after our launch, it was the financial crisis of 2008. So we had to review all our financing plans which were divided by three “explained Julie Gayet. By following a principle of honesty about the real price of films, the two women also quickly turned to the international market, particularly using the notion of equity to finance their film with foreign private funds.

If the idea of ​​making some big movies to help financing the little ones crossed their mind, it’s not what they eventually opted for. Recently, they had the proof that their choice was the right one when they co-produced Serge Hazanavicius’s Tout là haut, a big budget film. They then realized that this type of economic model did not really suit them: “We tried to apply producing methods for arthouse movies on a film with a 10 millions budget but it turned out not to be a very good idea.” The important thing for the duo is above all to be “coherent” in their approach to financing: “We are still looking for balance but we know that it is through the coherence that we will manage to win on all fronts. That’s also why we launched our distribution branch, “says Nadia Turincev.

Indeed, since last year, with the addition of Emilie Djiane to their team, Rouge International has created Rouge Distribution. After Off Rolls and Men last October, the company is currently distributing The Ride by Stephanie Gillard and is preparing the releases of Liu Jian’s Have a Nice Day, Olmo Omerzu’s Family Film and Philipp Jedicke’s Shut Up and Play the Piano. If the goal is not to only distribute films produced by Rouge, it is certain that this distribution organ is also an asset for them and their in-house productions: “We followed the film since its beginnings, which allows a long-term work and the development of a stronger strategy, and it also gives us the opportunity to have new funding, and ultimately save time.” This strategy is also established with the festivals that are central in the course and the notoriety of a film: “It is important to know which festival is made for which film. But also at which period of the festival it must be shown. It happened to us with Fix Me at Sundance, our first festival with one of our feature films. The movie was shown after the first weekend, when there was no one left! We learned the lesson well, we will not have it any more! If the festivals are important, for the release, it is also necessary to think broader and to be interested in the context of the release (exhibitions, theater’s plays…) which could suit us or with which we could associate. We must think globally.

Production, distribution, a willingness to go to international sales too? ” Maybe said Nadia Turincev with a mysterious attitude.

Finally, in terms of staff members, the number of them is very changing but the company can not go beyond eight employees, for the moment, for budgetary reasons. In the same way, the premises have changed, from Julie Gayet’s living room to their own offices including editing tables. Which is handy, especially for smaller films. In addition, the tandem is particularly interested in post-production: “In most foreign films that we produce, we participate a lot in the development of the scenario but we do not attend the shooting, which is often followed by the local production team. We often take over the film at the time of editing.

With award-winning films in multiple festivals and nominations in many awards ceremonies, what can we wish for Julie Gayet and Nadia Turincev: “A selection in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival, it would be really good”. Let’s find out on April 12th.



L.COHEN by James Benning (2017, USA, 45’)



TERRA FRANCA (ASHORE) by Leonor Teles (2018, Portugal, 82’)



THE GAME (LES PROIES) by Marine de Contes (2018, France, 53’)

Mention to THE IMAGE YOU MISSED by Donal Foreman (2018, Irlande-USA-France, 73’)

and ROMAN NATIONAL (NATIONAL NARRATIVE) by Grégoire Beil (2018, France, 63’)



I REMEMBER THE CROWS (LEMBRO MAIS DOS CORVOS) by Gustavo Vinagre (2018, Brasil, 80’)



THE WHITE ELEPHANT by Shuruq Harb (2018, Palestine, 12’)

Mention to PEOPLE OF THE LAKE (GENS DU LAC) by Jean-Marie Straub (2018, Switzerland, 18’)



SAULE MARCEAU de Juliette Achard (2017, France-Belgium, 34’)



I REMEMBER THE CROWS (LEMBRO MAIS DOS CORVOS) by Gustavo Vinagre (2018, Brasil, 80’)




Mention to AL DI LÀ DELL’UNO (BEYOND THE ONE / AU-DELÀ DE L’UN) by Anna Marziano (2017, France-Italy-Germany, 53’)



HARVEST MOON by Zaheed Mawani (2018, Kirghizistan-Canada, 70’)



THE IMAGE YOU MISSED by Donal Foreman (2018, Irish-USA-France, 73’)

Mention to SALARIUM by Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann (2018, UK, 42’)


Cinéma 1

2pm     The Original Music Award mention: SALARIUM by Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann (VO/FR+EN) and The Institut Français – Louis Marcorelles Award mention and The Original Music Award: THE IMAGE YOU MISSED by Donal Foreman (VOEN/FR)

5pm     The Scam International Award, TERRA FRANCA (ASHORE) by Leonor Teles (VO/FR+EN)

8pm     The Cinéma du Réel Grand Prix, L. COHEN by James Benning (SD)


Cinéma 2

2:30pm     Shinsuke Ogawa + Ogawa Pro / NIHON KAIKO SENSEN + presentation (VO/FR+EN)

5:10pm     Shinsuke Ogawa + Ogawa Pro / PARUCHIZAN ZENSHI + presentation (VO/FR+EN)

8:20pm     Mention of The Library Award, AL DI LA DELL’UNO (AU-DELÀ DE L’UN / BEYOND THE ONE) by Anna Marziano (VO/FR+EN) and The Library Award: DREAMING UNDER CAPITALISM (RÊVER SOUS LE CAPITALISME) by Sophie Bruneau (VOFR/EN)



Petite Salle

2:50pm     « What Is Real? 40 Years of Reflexion » // JEAN ROUCH SCREENING (VOFR) + presentation

 5:30pm     The Short Film Award: THE WHITE ELEPHANT by Shuruq Harb (VOEN/FR) and The Institut Français – Louis Marcorelles Award: ROMAN NATIONAL (NATIONAL NARRATIVE) by Grégoire Beil (VOFR/EN)

8:30pm        The Short Film Award mention : GENS DU LAC (PEOPLE OF THE LAKE) by Jean-Marie Straub (VOFR/EN) and The Institut Français – Louis Marcorelles Award : LES PROIES (THE GAME) by Marine de Contes (VOFR/EN)



Forum des Images – Salle 300

2:30pm          The Bois-d’Arcy Remand Centre Prisoners’ Award: SAULE MARCEAU by Juliette Achard (VOFR/EN) and The Intangible Heritage Award: HARVEST MOON by Zaheed Mawani (VO/FR+EN)

5:15pm        The Young Jury Award and The Joris Ivens-Cnap Award: I REMEMBER THE CROWS (LEMBRO MAIS DOS CORVOS) by Gustavo Vinagre (VO/FR+EN)

8pm    UN FILM D’AQUASERGE by Guillaume Bordier (VOFR/EN) + debate



Documentary: The New Deal

This Tuesday at the Forum des Images, ParisDOC held a day dedicated to the documentary journey, from writing to exhibition, with a focus on the pitfalls of financing. This public forum, which began at 10 am, was divided into three parts: first, a round-table of industry professionals, directors, producers and distributors, who reviewed the stages of documentary creation. This was followed by four case studies of four films already or about to be released in theaters, and, finally, by a meeting with the CNC.

From writing to exhibition, the journey of a documentary film


Bringing together Julie Bertuccelli (Scam), Aleksandra Chevreux (Docks66, SDI), Carine Chichkowski (Survivance, Nous sommes le documentary), François Farellacci (SRF), Régis Sauder (Acid, The Documentary Loop), Édouard Mauriat (Mille et une productions, SPI), Jean-Marie Barbe (Tënk) and moderated by Rebecca Houzel (Petit à Petit production) and Raphaël Pillosio (L’atelier documentaire), the round-table opened this day dedicated to the documentary journey.

The discussion, which lasted until 1pm, was interspersed with excerpts from various films produced, distributed or made by the panelists: Bricks, Lupino, Dernières nouvelles du Cosmos, Retour à Forbach, Peau d’âme and Après l’ombre.

The moderators first briefly reviewed the state of documentary film in France, pointing out that 70 to 80 films made on French initiative are theatrically released each year, half of which are approved – that is to say, they respect the conditions of film production set by the CNC. They then went on to address the central question of this round-table: the rules of approval (which allows aid to be automatically unlocked). As these rules are more specifically aimed at fiction, what changes would be needed to better take into account the specifics of the documentary?

For all the participants, it seemed quite obvious that the cinema medium allowed a greater space of freedom than television, as the latter has no obligation to invest in the documentary and, moreover, it is largely monopolized by the 52 minute format, which risks creating a standardized formatting. Cinema also allows greater proximity to the public, as filmmaker Régis Sauder pointed out. However, it is the access to funding that mainly determines whether the movie will be for television or for cinema.

For producer Edouard Mauriat, the freedom of creation relates to a plurality of financing: the more numerous the sources of funding, the smaller the risk of a standardized formatting. The distributor Aleksandra Chevreux put a slight damper on the attractiveness of cinema, pointing out that the reality of distribution meant that the number of theater admissions had to be seen in relation to the expenses incurred by the release itself. She noted in passing that, contrary to popular belief, the documentary did not necessarily make for fewer admissions than fiction. This is even more complicated when it comes to “wild films”, which are not approved because they do not allow distributors to generate the “Compte de soutien” (CNC automatic subsidies), which will eventually penalize future investments.

And here lies the very heart of the problem: the rules of approval and access to funding are not, or very little, suited to the constraints of documentary film. While funding counters are shrinking – leading to a pauperization of this environment –, the institutions still show a certain “archaism” as Jean-Marie Barbe remarked. One of the first problems is that public funding to finance a film is limited to 60% of the total, which prevents some films from being made as they depend above all on this aid. This public financial support can come from regions, CNC (automatic and selective) support or tax rebates. And there are plenty of boxes to check to obtain them. For example, it is not possible to ask for a pre-production advance on receipts (avance sur recettes avant réalisation) if filming has already started. For documentary films, this is a difficult rule to respect as they require a lot of preparation and often upstream filming. On the other hand, the post-production advance on receipts, which is more easily obtained by documentaries, penalizes the production company as it most likely needs this money sooner and has no choice but to take risks .

Moreover, there is a gap between access to certain aid, such as that for writing, and the reality of the documentary’s timeline. All panelists advocated for access to design subsidies, which are currently reserved for fiction. There is also a real problem when it comes to wages. It is thus very difficult to make a documentary film under the conditions set out in Appendix 1 of the CNC’s qualification, corresponding to the collective agreement (which defines wages), as this economy does not match the economy of the documentary.

Yet, having an approved movie is important for distributors, who can then generate a support account. But this is not the case for most of the documentaries that are made. However, these so-called “wild” films can be approved at the time of distribution, but such cases are still few and far between and subject to stringent conditions as, for instance, being selected by a category-A festival (Cannes, Berlin, etc.) and being released in at least eight theaters. As a result, it is difficult for audiences to view these films outside of festivals or local channels (which are a key source of funding).

Is digital the solution? Not quite yet. Jean-Marie Barbe spoke about the economic model of his documentary-focused platform, Tënk, and explained that it also allowed access to these otherwise invisible films. Ultimately, the idea would be to make it a key player in documentary funding but the economic model is still a little shaky. This is why such platforms are starting to partner with each other and with festivals in order to carry more weight. A real change could also come from a change in the media chronology. But this is another debate … currently underway.

Case studies


From 2pm, the round-table handed over to four case studies led by Eugénie Michel-Villette (Les Films du Bilboquet) and Rebecca Houzel (Petit à Petit production) involveing four films: Braguino by Clément Cogitore, Premières solitudes by Claire Simon, Avant la fin de l’été by Maryam Goormaghtigh and Demons in Paradise by Jude Ratnam. Using these specific cases, the speakers, filmmakers and producers illustrated the difficulties and the realities of the documentary. Cédric Bonin (Seppia) talked about his difficulties with Braguino and explained that his case study was an example of “everything that you shouldn’t do”, especially in terms of media chronology. As for Julie Paratian (Sister Productions), she had to apply to 30 funds over eight years to finance Jude Ratman’s film. Demons in Paradise also illustrates the constraints of documentary filmmaking, such as the passage of time and the changes it brings, which in his case were the political developments in Sri Lanka, where this first Tamil documentary was shot. Andrea Queralt (4 A 4 Productions) explained that the images originally filmed for scouting purposes for Avant la fin de l’été were, in the end, integrated into the final cut, which thus meant that the film did not comply with to the “advance aid” rules. Finally, Claire Simon, who shot Premières solitudes bit by bit, alternating filming and writing and not anticipating in advance, expressed the general feeling of the assembly: “Funding has to bend to suit the requirements of documentary genius and not the other way around”.

Meeting with the CNC


The day ended with a discussion with the CNC, represented by Director of Cinema Xavier Lardoux, accompanied by Dominique Barneaud (Bellota Films) and Julie Paratian (Sister Productions).

In response to the questions and requests expressed in the morning, Xavier Lardoux explained the Center’s position and possible and/or ongoing developments.

After reminding the assembly of the CNC’s function and various missions, the Director of Cinema provided some figures on the documentary. For this, he drew on the Observatoire de la production 2017 published that same morning. These figures showed that production was stable last year with 37 documentaries approved against 44 in 2016 with an increase in the average estimate, now up to €650 000.

Regarding cinema releases, based on 2016 figures, Xavier Lardoux said that 2016 had reached the highest level over the last ten years with 118 documentaries distributed, including 66% French films, of which 40 were approved. Their market share is estimated at 84% or 2.7 million viewers out of the 3.3 million watching documentaries in theaters.

After a question from Julie Paratian on the possible evolution of the CNC’s support for documentary, the Director of Cinema explained that public financing for this type of film was growing, notably due to the drying up of the counters. Regarding the pre-production advance on receipts, he said it was “like the Cannes Film Festival: the art of saying no”. Indeed, 55 projects out of 650 candidates are helped annually, a 8% success rate. Among them, the documentary represents 15% of the films supported by the 1st committee (dedicated to first movies) and 12.5% in the 2nd, committee for an average amount of €120 000 (much lower than that for fiction, but this is due to budget differences). For the 3rd committee (post-production advance on receipts), the documentary represents 33% of the supported films for an average amount of €90 000, equivalent to that of fiction.

In addition, as part of the accreditation reform that came into force in January 2018, Xavier Lardoux stated that flexibility had been introduced, specifically for the documentary, particularly in relation to the first day of filming (which is a condition sine qua non for access to a pre-production advance on receipts). However, the CNC does not wish to open up this possibility, fearing that regulated financing (such as Sofica or television channels) will do the same, or even abuse it, at the risk of no longer pre-financing films and of waiting until they are partly made to invest.

The two moderators also mentioned the public authorities’ self-regulation in financing to avoid exceeding the 60% of authorized public aid. While the idea of increasing the threshold for public aid was quickly mentioned, Xavier Lardoux explained that this self-regulation reflected the desire not to exceed this threshold so as to avoid having to ask producers to repay any surplus amounts, which could create financial insecurity for some of them. He also recalled the existence of the derogation that allows films to be approved at the time of their distribution, thus unblocking distribution and exhibition/broadcasting aids.

The Director of Cinema also recalled the other funds accessible to the documentary to support writing, rewriting or development. But when it came to access to design subsidies, the debate became somewhat heated. Xavier Lardoux explained that these issues, as well as that of support for new entrants, were currently being discussed within the CNC in a working group composed of several representatives of the various film organizations.

To be continued.


Report written by Perrine Quenesson

Festival international de films documentaires