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PRODUCTION France

Love, immigration and swimming in Welcome

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Shooting wraps up in the next few days in the Northern town of Calais on Welcome, the sixth feature by Philippe Lioret.

The director’s last film Don’t Worry, I’m Fine [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
garnered almost 900,000 admissions in 2006 and received five nominations for the 2007 Cesar Awards (Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay), with the actors scooping two prizes.

Lioret’s new film – which tackles the issue of illegal immigration – stars Vincent Lindon (thrice nominated for the Best Actor Cesar, this year for Ceux qui restent [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) alongside Audrey Dana (Crossed Tracks [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Firat and Derya Ayverdi, Thierry Godard and Olivier Rabourdin.

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Co-written by the director, Emmanuel Courcol and Olivier Adam, the film retraces the misadventures of Simon (Lindon), a swimming instructor who works at the swimming baths in the centre of Calais. Madly in love with his wife Marion (Dana), he tries to win her back after she leaves him.

He meets a 17-year-old Kurd, who is passionately in love with a fellow Kurdish girl who lives in London. In order to impress his wife and prove that he is not as selfish as she thinks, the swimming instructor decides to secretly help the young man to train so that he can swim across the Channel.

The filmmaker told the local press that the issue of immigration merely forms the background to a very personal story. He said: "The swimming instructor finds a substitute son, the one he never had with the woman he loves."

Having first attracted attention in 1993 with his debut feature Lost in Transit (Best Director at San Sebastian Film Festival), Lioret then went on to direct Tenue correcte exigée ("Correct Dress Required", 1997), Mademoiselle (2001), The Light (2004) and Don’t Worry, I’m Fine.

Like his two previous films, Welcome is produced by Christophe Rossignon for Nord-Ouest Productions, who currently have several projects on the go. They are handling post-production for Laetitia Colombani’s Mes stars et moi (“My Stars and I”, see news) and Vincent Garenq’s Baby Love. The company are also producing Christian Carion’s thriller Farewell, starring Guillaume Canet and Romanian actress Alexandra Maria Lara, which will start shooting on April 18.

Co-producers for Welcome include Studio 37, France 3 Cinéma and the CRRAV.

The shoot, which kicked off in Calais on February 11, will continue in Lille on March 20, before ten or so days studio filming in Tourcoing and five days in England in mid-April.

Mars Distribution will release the film domestically at the end of 2008 and international sales are being handled by Films Distribution.

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(Translated from French)

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