Carole Scotta • Producer/Distributor
by Fabien Lemercier
24/03/2011 - Well-known internationally after the Palme d’Or for The Class [trailer, film focus] and the success of Coco Before Chanel, Haut et Court [trailer] continues its ambitious development that began when it was founded in 1992. Carole Scotta, founder and joint director of the Paris-based company with Caroline Benjo, Simon Arnal and Laurence Petit, gives Cineuropa an overview of their current projects.
Cineuropa: Tell us about this summer’s shoot for Laurent Cantet’s Foxfire (see news)?
Carole Scotta: Laurent is always looking for very different things and when he read Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, he fell in love with it and so did we. It’s a brilliant book and there’s a vague connection with The Class, with the idea of working with a group of girls all aged about 15. There’s always a link between Laurent’s films, even if this time he’s making a period film in English. When we decided to adapt the novel, it was obvious to us that it should remain a European production and we decided to co-produce it with Canada.
Why did you pick Pawel Pawlikowski to direct The Woman In the Fifth (to be released in France on August 17 – see news)?
We really admire his work and we had wanted to distribute My Summer of Love [trailer, film focus]. When we optioned the rights to the novel, we thought it was important for it to be adapted by a foreign director to keep the spirit and viewpoint of author Douglas Kennedy, an American who lives in Paris sporadically. Pawel is the first director who came to mind and he has made a highly personal film from a novel that could be subject to multiple interpretations. It’s not so far removed from [Roman] Polanski’s work on Frantic, with very intense atmospheres.
You’re also going to distribute Malgorzata Szumowka’s Sponsoring (see news)?
By coincidence, there are lots of Poles in our line-up. Marianne Slot gave us the script to read and we liked it, so we got on board the project.
Haut et Court also regularly distributes Belgian films (Illegal [trailer, film focus], The Barons [trailer, film focus] and Joachim Lafosse’s latest two).
This is also the result of a productive relationship with Versus Production, who happen to produce the work of Bouli Lanners. We co-produced the director’s Giants (see news and Making Of), which we will release on June 15. After we distributed his debut feature, Eldorado [trailer], it seemed natural to continue to follow him.
What is your analysis of market trends and the situation for independent distributors?
Markets are becoming very polarised and films by studios and big groups garner the most admissions, while the others share the rest. Generally, independent distributors are in a rather fragile situation. From our point of view, if we weren’t involved in film and TV production, things would be very difficult.
Independent distributors are faced with both fierce competition from groups and the difficulty of surviving in markets where supply is abundant and where we are competing with other theatrical releases, as well as with the other forms of film consumption that are developing. Theatres are useful for boosting a film’s reputation before it is released on all other media, but that’s where we take the biggest risks.
We’re campaigning with DIRE (United European Independent Distributors) to get the message across that if we weren’t there, 90% of debut films wouldn’t be released or even get made. Although this work can sometimes be balanced out by acquisitions of European or US films, this isn’t always enough.