|Producers on the Rise at Deauville|
Producers on the Rise at Deauville
Just as summer begins to wind down, the excitement starts picking up for the Annual Deauville American Film Festival. Just a two-hour train ride from Paris, this seaside resort town in northwest France plays host to a unique American film Festival abroad. While the festival initially started as a means to share the love of film, it has now developed into a competitive event, attracting some of Hollywood’s biggest names. This year more than ever, Deauville is embracing the work of producers, thanks in large part to the work of PGA member Antoine de Cazotte.
As a member of the PGA International Committee, Antoine (whose credits include this year’s Oscar winner The Artist) looked into potential partnerships in his home country of France, where his efforts helped create a PGA partnership with the APC (Association des Producteurs de Cinema). With the support of Ile de France Film Commission, the APC and PGA helped to create a Producers Day at Deauville.
A day devoted exclusively to the producing craft is certainly great progress, but Antoine didn’t stop there. He also saw that producing credits were added to the Festival catalogue, for the first time in 38 years. Moreover, he created a tribute to an outstanding producing career, gave a presentation on sustainable producing methods and finally he shared his wealth of producing experience, especially as it relates to international production.
The U.S. and France represent the largest film production industries in the western hemisphere, and the strength of the Euro continues to create an incentive for European productions to shoot in the US. French producers, as Antoine observes, are sometimes wary of the impact of unions, and of the daunting prospect of negotiating the requisite paperwork. On the other side of the coin, Americans are apprehensive about working in Europe because of call sheet hour restrictions. Antoine helpfully notes that while it is true that France has an 8 hour call day, this duration does not include set-up or post production time, and confirms that productions in America and France work roughly the same number of hours per day. He also points out that large American film projects rely on distributing to the European market to help ensure a project’s financial success.
Antoine wasn’t alone in his willingness to share the secrets of his success, as celebrated producer and PGA member Paula Wagner joined the festival as a special guest of honor. Antoine suggested that the Festival organizers invite the highly successful producer of such films as the Mission: Impossible franchise and the upcoming Jack Reacher, and the Festival readily embraced the idea. Co-chair of the PGA International Committee Bill Stuart extended the invitation to Paula, who was accompanied by husband Rick Nicita as they toured Luc Besson’s new studio in Paris before being honored in Deauville.
Beyond the adjustments for producer inclusion at Deauville, the Festival featured a presentation on the best practices for creating environmentally friendly production. Some of the inspiration for this presentation came from a meeting Antoine had with fellow PGA member Kathleen Courtney this summer. In that conversation, they discussed the formation of the PGA Green Initiative and the support it has enjoyed from the major studios, all eager to promote sustainable production. At Deauvillle, Antoine shared some of the best practices and demonstrated the carbon calculator from PGA Green along with helpful information from the APC. Utilizing www.greenproductionguide.com or www.ecoprod.com can lead a production to pre-vetted green vendors around the world.
It is encouraging to know that organizations like ours are promoting sustainable producing practices even as we promote the craft of producing. Deauville is currently the only American Film Festival held outside the United States, with its success as evidence of the close bond between the PGA and the APC. With continued cooperation between producers as dedicated as Antoine , we can hope this mutually beneficial model will extend to other nations and other events. Antoine and the International Committee have made their mark at Deauville, and for certain there are more good things to come.
Photos by Mathilde Gourdou