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Nicolás Rincón Gille • Director

"Colombia has a lot to say in cinema"


- met up with Belgian-Colombian director Nicolás Rincón Gille, who participated in the Cinéfondation Atelier at the Cannes Film Festival with his project Valley of Souls

Nicolás Rincón Gille  • Director

At the International Village of Pantiero, during the Cannes Film Festival, the Cinéfondation Atelier hooks up the team behind a well-advanced film project and professionals who could help them complete it. Nicolás Rincón Gille’s Valley of Souls [+see also:
film review
film profile
 is slated to be the first feature-length fiction film by the Belgian-Colombian director. Arriving at Cannes with his producers, Caravan Pass (France) and Medio de Contencion Producciones (Colombia), he was in search of a distributor or a buyer willing to lend some help to the project.

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Cinergie: How was the project selected for the Atelier?
Nicolás Rincón Gille: The Cinéfondation Atelier is a workshop of 15 projects that George Goldenstern (the general manager) carefully selects at any stage. Some of the directors still don’t even have final screenplays. But in our case, the screenplay is finished. So we sent him the screenplay by the deadline with a note of intent. He read it and he liked it, so he included it. We learned last February that our project had been selected to be presented at the Atelier.

Why did Cannes interest you more than other locations for the development of your project? Of course, it is the centre of world cinema, but are there any other reasons?
I make documentaries. Valley of Souls is my first fiction. It’s a film that plays with many things and with different themes. It’s also a fragile project because it is auteur cinema. Therefore, being here, in a programme that emphasises the creation of film, this offers an incredible number of possibilities. All different kinds of people come to take part in the project, from all over the world. It is never easy to find funds for this type of film. This helps us to make our films, and it opens doors, especially with respect to giving the films the chance to be seen afterwards.

How do the meetings happen between the film crew and the professionals at the Atelier?
In the specific case of Valley of Souls, as it is a project being made in Colombia, the Latin American co-producers come to see us. They determine what exactly we are looking for, as each project is looking for something specific. What interests us the most is sales/distribution, as well as potential co-production partners. But since there are already three countries on board (Belgium, France and Colombia) and each country already has funding requirements, the more countries are added to the project, the more we are forced to divide the film crew and to call on actors from the co-producing countries. Now, the idea I have for my film is to remain very intimate. I want this to happen in Colombia and to be performed by Colombians (both professionals and non-professionals). I also want a large part of the film crew to be the same as the one I usually work with; we are all Belgians. There is a certain unity in my films. It would be complicated having other co-producers, as it would distort the project a little.

Is Colombia a country of interest to distributors? It was a country with a strong presence last year at Cannes, with films such as Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent in the Directors' Fortnight and Land and Shade [+see also:
film review
film profile
 by César Augusto Acevedo, which won the Caméra d’Or.
Colombia is a country that is becoming increasingly well known when it comes to the themes I’m drawn towards, and because it is a country full of change, it has a lot to say in cinema. It is also our project's point of view that interests the people we meet: my focus isn't on violence, and nor is it a film with multiple twists in the storyline; it is a journey, inspired by documentary. Again, a film shouldn’t be reduced to the point where everyone could find it to their liking. We have to somehow retain its special features. In this way, it won't click with some people, while it will click with others.

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(Translated from French)

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