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Five promising young filmmakers taking part in Emergence


- The 23rd session of the directing residency will come to the aid of the feature debuts by Sarah Arnold, Léa Todorov, Karim Bensalah, Martin Drouot and Stéphane Marchetti

Five promising young filmmakers taking part in Emergence
(l-r) Directors Sarah Arnold, Léa Todorov Karim Bensalah, Martin Drouot and Stéphane Marchetti

Selected by a jury that was chaired this year by Alice Winocour (supported by a number of others, including Anaïs Demoustier), five young filmmakers have been picked for the 23rd session of the Emergence directing residency. This scheme, which is the only one of its kind in Europe, will offer them the chance to shoot two scenes from their debut features in March, with the patronage of an established director, artistic support and professional production facilities.

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Sarah Arnold has been selected with her project Wild Encounters (L’espèce explosive). The story, which she wrote together with Olivier Seror and Romain Winckler, is set in Northeast France. The wild boars that have been devastating the corn crops have sparked an open war between farmers and hunters. Brun, a grain producer who is on the verge of bankruptcy, is struggling to keep his farm afloat. When a local bigwig pushes him over the edge, he kills him and vanishes. A year later, Fulda, a young Corsican police officer transferred to the area for disciplinary reasons, is in charge of the inquiry. The project is being staged by Helen Olive and Martin Bertier for 5 à 7 Films.

Meanwhile, Léa Todorov has been accepted with Montessori, the plot of which unfolds in 1900. Lili d’Alengy, a Parisian courtesan at the height of her fame, flees Paris in order to conceal her daughter, who has been deemed an “idiot”. After arriving in Rome, her life is turned upside down when she meets a female doctor who has developed a method of helping intellectually challenged children: Maria Montessori. However, if she wishes to publicly embody the donna nuova, or “new woman”, a modern, emancipated lady, she must pay the price – motherhood out of wedlock and kept under wraps. Soon, she will be forced to choose between her child and her destiny (produced by Grégoire Debailly for Geko Films).

Also among those picked is Karim Bensalah, with Lumière noire. Written by the director together with Jamal Belmahi, the story hinges on Sofiane, the son of a former Algerian diplomat, who has spent his entire life abroad. Today, he is a student in Lyon, but he falls victim to an administrative decision and lives under the constant threat of deportation. In the hope of rectifying the situation, he resolves to temp at a Muslim undertaker’s. Lost in his own identity and uncomfortable in his own skin, rubbing shoulders with the dead will prove to be a tempting path for him (produced by Oualid Taha for Tact Production).

Martin Drouot is taking part with L’idéaliste, the main character of which, Adrien Kaminsky, is a young French teacher in a secondary school in Le Havre. This passionate man puts his all into his job, and his students return his enthusiasm. When a pupil discovers that he is gay, he is knocked off his pedestal, and it’s not long before he is violently assaulted in front of the school. As the attack makes waves and shakes the entire system to its core, Adrien starts to have doubts about his vocation (produced by Myrina Mané for Les productions Spendens).

Lastly, Stéphane Marchetti is preparing the social thriller Passeuse (from a screenplay that he wrote in tandem with Laurette Polmanss). The plot centres on forty-something Marie, who lives in the Hautes-Alpes department of France, cut off from her close family. All she has is her lover, Alex, who works in the border police force. Thanks to him, she traffics cigarettes between Italy and France to make ends meet. One day, on her way to France, she runs into Mouneer, a 20-year-old Sudanese migrant, who is determined to catch up with his little sister. He works out that she is a trafficker and persuades her to get some migrants across the border (produced by Bertrand Gore for Blue Monday Productions).

Standing out among the lucky films selected for previous editions of Emergence are My Best Part [+see also:
film review
interview: Nicolas Maury
interview: Nicolas Maury
film profile
by Nicolas Maury and, in post-production, L’Horizon by Émilie Carpentier, Les meilleures by Marion Desseigne-Ravel (see the article), the Swiss-French production Olga by Elie Grappe and Sentinelle Sud by Mathieu Gérault (see the article).

Since it was created by Élisabeth Depardieu, Emergence (which sees Dominique Besnehard as its president and is headed up by artistic director Nathalie Bessis) has lent its support to the feature debuts by Alice Winocour, Mia Hansen-Love, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Katell Quillévéré, Leyla Bouzid, Léa Fehner, Elie Wajeman, Farid Bentoumi, Stéphane Demoustier, Morgan Simon, Antonin Peretjatko, Joachim Lafosse, Pierre Schoeller, Erwan Le Duc and Laurent Micheli, to name but a few. Interestingly, Emergence also runs a Music Workshop and two series-focused labs (La Fabrique des Séries and the Series Workshop) every year, among other initiatives.

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(Translated from French)

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