Eva Zornio, David Fonjallaz • Director, producer
"Presenting a project at a festival also means becoming a professional director"
by Giorgia Del Don
- During Pitching du Réel at the Nyon DOC Outlook International Market, Cineuropa met with director Eva Zornio and producer David Fonjallaz to talk about their project My Father, Tinder, and I
During Pitching du Réel at the Nyon DOC Outlook International Market, Cineuropa met with director Eva Zornio and David Fonjallaz of Lomotion Filmproduktion (the producer of Cyclic and Roped Up [+see also:
film profile] by Frédéric Favre as well as Spira Mirabilis [+see also:
film profile] by Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti), who had come to present their project My Father, Tinder, and I. The young Swiss director's film, which recounts the strong relationship that she maintains with a father who is simultaneously lovable, funny and extremely complex, is one of the 15 projects selected in the forum. This dynamic and enthusiastic duo met thanks to Swiss screenwriter Claude Muret (who co-wrote Winter Nomads [+see also:
interview: Manuel von Stürler
film profile], has often worked with Jean Stéphane Bron and is in Nyon this year with Lust for Sight [+see also:
film profile]), who became part of the project through the HEAD school, where the director studied.
Cineuropa: Why do you think this is a good time to present My Father, Tinder, and I at the Nyon film market?
David Fonjallaz: For me it's a good time because, after having succeeded in getting financing for the writing and development with regional help from Cinéforom and the canton of Bern, we're now at the point where we have to look for financing for the production. It's the right time to get in touch with financial partners like RTS, or potential co-producers. Thanks to the fact that in the film we travel a lot and go to different countries, there is a real possibility of setting up co-productions. But above all, I think you have to consider what is good for the film, to put the focus on the film. I should also say that this is not a horribly expensive project that requires a lot of partners. At the same time, and in general, it is always important for a film to find partners, to talk to sales agents and take part in festivals, even if it's only for one screening. Normally the fact that people have already heard about the project helps.
Have you been to Nyon before as a production company? What is the defining feature of the Visions du Réel film market, and why is it interesting for a film like Eva's?
DF: What I really love about Nyon is its family atmosphere. As a production company, it's the third time we've pitched here, and since it's a bit of a people business, we know the people who come here, and we've maybe worked or co-produced a film together. That increases the chances of finding partners. At the same time, Doc Outlook is an international market that has grown out of a very nice festival with its own particular characteristics. I think that for this project, the first feature film by a promising director like Eva, it's the ideal place. It wouldn't make any sense to put it in competition with huge productions, as that wouldn't be good for the film at all.
How do you think this experience will enrich you as a director?
Eva Zornio: It's always good to be able to verbalise and interact with people, and talk about the film. That helps you understand if it's clear in your own head. If you're able to talk about it clearly, that means that you have conceptualised the project well and you're on the right track. I find the opportunity to meet with people and have discussions about the project, to test how people will receive the project, really interesting. I found that it was also a great exercise to prepare a teaser for the presentation – in other words, putting together images and seeing how the visual aspect would work, and what the film would be like. It's also a career step. When you come out of school, there's a complete void; you have no idea what you could do to get a foothold in the profession. In fact, presenting a film project at a festival also means becoming a professional director.
DF: I absolutely agree; I find that it's an excellent exercise, already at this level, having to put things into words. At the same time, I've always really benefited from the questions we get asked during the festival because it's not only the time when you're pitching that counts; we also have round-tables and one-to-one meetings. You're always being asked questions, and sometimes you have to come up with answers on the spot. During these two days, you yourself begin to understand aspects of film that you hadn’t reflected on before. Of course you talk with the film's team, but that's limited to two or three people. Here, on the other hand, you benefit from meeting people with real expertise and a deep knowledge of the field.
(Translated from French by Margaret Finnell)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.