David Thion • Producer
"A slightly puzzling originality"
- Cineuropa met up with the producer of the film and, most probably, of the director’s next work
Regular partners of Pierre Salvadori and the Larrieu brothers, other credits of Philippe Martin’s outfit Les Films Pelléas include Serge Bozon’s La France [+see also:
film profile], Jean-Stéphane Bron’s My Brother is Getting Married [+see also:
interview: Jean-Stéphane Bron
interview: Thierry Spicher
film profile], Catalin Mitulescu’s The Way I Spent the End of the World [+see also:
film profile] and features from Catherine Corsini, Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau, Jean-Paul Civeyrac and Pierre Schoeller (see news).
Its catalogue of films by quality directors now includes Mia Hansen-Love’s All Is Forgiven [+see also:
interview: David Thion
interview: Mia Hansen-Löve
film profile]. Cineuropa met up with David Thion, producer of the film and, most probably, of the director’s next work.
Cineuropa: How and why did you produce All Is Forgiven, a project developed by Humbert Balsan?
David Thion: The film was supposed to be co-produced by Austria’s Gabriele Kranzelbinder (Amour Fou Filmproduktion ) and she talked to me about it after the death of Humbert Balsan. Mia Hansen-Love, whom I didn’t know, sent me her script. I’d seen her shorts, in particular Après mûre réflexion, which I liked a lot, and I was struck by her personality. Although still very young, she showed great determination, spoke very well about her film and its characters. You could feel maturity in the writing, but the project wasn’t very easy to sell. There was a slightly puzzling originality in the three-part structure, but not in the subject because French cinema has already made films on reunions. On the other hand, the narrative style was original, with strong ellipses, less important moments and others where a quarter of an hour is devoted to what happens in a day. It was very interesting to see how time was managed in the story.
How did you go about financing the project?
Everything spoke in its favour of it being an Austria co-production, as 20-25 % of the story is set in Vienna, the lead actress is Austrian, as well as almost all of actors in the first part. But the co-production fell through because we didn’t get the financing and there wasn’t enough time for the production dates we’d planned to be able to represent the project. In the end, the film cost €1.64m, with funding coming from, in chronological order, CNC advances on receipts, the Fondation Gan, Pyramide for French distribution and international sales, the Ile-de-France and Limousin regions, and pre-sales from TPS. Getting financing was difficult though. The project did not go unnoticed because right away we got promises of advances on receipts, support from Emergence and the Gan Foundation, which are three signs that a screenplay of a debut feature proves that it was among one of the quality projects in auteur cinema. The script was read with interest, but without being frankly hostile, the feedback was lacking in enthusiasm: "fragile", "a little small", "unknown actors"... Shooting lasted eight weeks, but our tight budget meant that €20,000 less could have made all the difference, so support from each of our partners was decisive.
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