Emmanuel Chaumet • Producer
"An investment in the future"
by Fabien Lemercier
- Emmanuel Chaumet discusses the editorial line of Ecce Films, which has produced films by Bertrand Mandico, Justine Triet, Yves Forgeart, and duo Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi
On the occasion of the national release of The Wild Boys [+see also:
interview: Bertrand Mandico
film profile] by Bertrand Mandico (screened in the International Critics' Week at Venice), we met up with producer Emmanuel Chaumet, a visionary maverick on the French independent production scene with his company Ecce Films, founded in 2003, which has produced over 80 short and feature films to date.
Cineuropa: Is The Wild Boys representative of Ecce Films' editorial line?
Emmanuel Chaumet: Yes, because it's a film that’s somewhat different in terms of its subject matter, mise-en-scène and technical choices. It's a prototype and I like to think that my job is to make prototypes. It’s often said that cinema as a whole is a prototype industry, but it's rarely practiced. It's a problem that’s linked to directors rather than producers. These days, producers who want to produce something that's a little out of the ordinary aren't able to get to market with what they're offering. There are only a few directors who have the ambition to make films as "bonkers " as the likes of those by Bertrand Mandico, who has a desire to work with special effects, to continue shooting on film, to mix adventure stories with a universe of referenced literature, such as elements inspired by comic books and the Italian "Giallo" genre, etc. I don’t see many people in France with those credentials and the ability to present audiences with such an obscure universe.
How do you spot original filmmakers such as Bertrand Mandico, Justine Triet, Benoit Forgeard and the others you produce? And how do you succeed in financing their films?
They are directors who have created universes that solicit my curiosity, either in their graduation films or non-cinematographic projects. In terms of funding, it's variable. For The Wild Boys, I have a huge hole in production, but the film’s release should be great, fairly visible, with a very favourable press, and the film has done very well at festivals abroad and in France. The risks I'm taking right now, which are inherent to my job, are an investment in the future. Bertrand's second feature, After Blue, will soon be on its way. It's already been written, it will be a western, and I hope it will be easier to fund.
What would your ideal production rhythm look like?
I would like to do one or two great international co-productions a year, something that I’m trying to develop in the same vein as in France: offering a kind of “first ticket” in France, to see if we can then go further afield, to one or two directors, to the filmmakers I meet at festivals, who have made shorts and who are preparing their first feature films. I want to produce three well-funded feature films every two years or so in France, and to continue to make two feature films a year.
Ecce Films is unique in the fact that it sells its own productions abroad, will Jessica Forever by Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi (read the news here) be sold by MK2 Films?
Whenever I get offered a real MG, I’ll be ready to think about it. I believe in the films I make, and if the market doesn’t offer me more than €15,000 to €20,000, I prefer to hire someone internally, which also strategically allows me to be more present at markets. If the market wants to take, I'm ready to give. I'm not a hard-liner or particularly stubborn, but I won’t ever freely give out mandates to sellers again, they only charge me fees and I never get the return.
What are Ecce Films' short-term projects?
Yves by Benoît Forgeard (article - filming) is currently in the process of being filmed, while in post-production we have Jessica Forever by Jonathan Vinel and Caroline Poggi, Bêtes Blondes by Maxime Matray and Alexia Walther (article) and Rojo by Benjamin Naishtat, which I’m co-producing with Argentina, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands and which is currently in the final stages of the editing process. I'm also producing a penniless feature film: Mens by Isabelle Prim. The next Mandico film will ideally be shot in the second half of the year, and I'm currently in the process of developing Delta by Claire Doyon (a melodrama set in Africa), as well as the animated film Planète by the Franco-Japanese director Momoko Seto. I also have two other projects, which are well into the production process, but which I’d prefer not to talk about because I don’t want to jinx them.
(Translated from French)
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