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Claude-Eric Poiroux • Festival Premiers Plans d'Angers

"We sometimes forget the importance of renewal"

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- The state of young European cinema deciphered by Claude-Eric Poiroux, General and Artistic Director of the Festival Premiers Plans d'Angers

Claude-Eric Poiroux • Festival Premiers Plans d'Angers

What is the condition of young European cinema? Founder and General and Artistic Director of the Festival Premiers Plans in Angers whose 26th edition is taking place between January 17 and 26, 2014, Claude-Eric Poiroux (also General Director of the Europa Cinemas theatre network) is undeniably one of the most well suited professionals to answer this question and talk about the future of first feature film directors on the Old Continent.

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Cineuropa: What are the trends of young European cinema that are visible from the standpoint of the Festival Premiers Plans?
Claude-Eric Poiroux
: This year, we will present 137 first works, including 22 features, 69 shorts and 46 student films. 29 European countries will be represented. The digital era is probably leading to a slight proliferation of novelties, but we mostly notice that we have an increasing demand each year: we receive well over 2200 films, in all formats, from shorts to features. When we look at creativity in Europe today, we come to the conclusion that there is a real diversity in the offer in all countries, in forms that are often a bit “cobbled together”, in an economy of their own, but still part of an economy. Because these films always display true quality, with good teams, set research and styles. The general level is worthy of a continent that is currently worrying a little bit about its renewal. And this richness also manifests itself through Western European co-productions such as the Kazakh film Harmony Lessons [+see also:
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: we see things coming together while from an economic standpoint, it wasn’t a given.

Are these quality first features generally sufficiently highlighted?
Europe must not ignore or underestimate the capacity of its young people to responsibly start in cinema. It is never easy to make a film and you can’t do it alone, or without commitment. It’s a real strength. We can say what we want about European cinema but for 25 years in Angers, I saw filmmakers come through whom no one knew, including Paolo Sorrentino with L'uomo in piu [+see also:
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, Matteo Garrone who was pretty much unknown in his country and Norwegian director Joachim Trier. We see young people emerge, with short film propositions, but also medium length movies and features, in festivals that should by the way be allowed to proliferate because they are places where these films can reach a certain dimension, a certain reality, and face the challenge of meeting their public.

We sometimes forget the importance of renewal, even if this part of cinema isn’t huge economically speaking in theatres. But it has its place. A static art, which would only repeat itself and lengthen the cinematography of its filmmakers, would not attract anyone new. I can see in Angers that spectators between the ages of 15 and 25 are very curious when it comes to films directed by young directors aged 20 to 35. The public in Angers demonstrates that there is no disinterest, on the contrary, since all the screenings are full. It’s an opportunity to grasp and professionals should be aware of it: if we want the public to renew itself, we also have to offer new propositions by young directors. No one should say it isn’t worth it.

European countries, professionals of the cinematographic industry and even administrative authorities should not neglect this aspect: there is an emerging creativity and young people whose names are not on the market yet, will be there soon. And if some don’t make it because not everyone can become Almodovar or Lars von Trier, they will continue to invest themselves for example in publicity or pedagogy.

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(Translated from French)

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