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News in brief

11 September 2020 à 12:20

French cinema at TIFF: Day 2

To coincide with TIFF (September 10–20, 2020), UniFrance, in partnership with Le Film Français, offers each day, over five days, a look at the French films, including shorts, presented in Toronto as seen by their exporters. Unifrance also provides an update on the current state of play for French cinema outside France as well as the situation in France.


In the Official Selection

Spring Blossom by Suzanne Lindon

 Honored with the Cannes 2020 Label, selected at TIFF and San Sebastián, Suzanne Lindon's first film has enjoyed a spectacular debut at festivals.
Hédi Zardi and Fiorella Moretti, head of sales and acquisitions at Luxbox, spoke about the early international career of a film that is "like a clean, uncluttered gesture, extremely sensitive and original, an elegant and poetic film in which a feeling of nostalgia comes to light. We knew immediately that it would be well received in Toronto and other festivals, but we didn't really imagine it becoming a festival favorite among the well-established distributors like Cinéart, Curzon, and MFA." A "modern but timeless" film produced by Caroline Bonmarchand (Avenue B Productions), for which the sales strategy was to present it right from the Cannes Online Film Market, "because the film was strong enough not to start with preview theater screenings. We wanted it to be seen then as we were just coming out of a difficult period and this film has a 'feel good' vibe. In fact, the very first pre-sales were truly a gut reaction on the part of distributors." If the reception at Cannes impacts sales in Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK, Benelux countries), other big countries will be sure to follow: China, Canada, and so on, without people necessarily making a connection between the film's young director and her famous parents. It will be released in France on December 9, closely followed by German-speaking regions and the Benelux countries. Suzanne Lindon will soon start her promotion of the film in Germany. "The fact that theaters are still closed, or not well attended, in certain regions is stressing distributors," explains Hédi Zardi, "but there is a desire to see 'feel good' films, despite the current economic situation that makes it difficult for buyers to make a dent in the market, particularly in South America." As far as broadcasting is concerned, Luxbox is committed to ensuring that the film is released in theaters in the countries it's sold in, but we're also aware that in some markets a theatrical release is no longer a strong option. That means we're considering a release package that includes VOD.

Industry Selects section

The Monopoly of Violence by David Dufresne

 The debut film by David Dufresne, the documentary The Monopoly of Violence, which has the backing of Cannes Critics' Week 2020, is sold internationally by The Bureau Sales and was produced by Bertrand Faivre (Le Bureau).
According to Clémentine Hugot, head of sales at The Bureau Sales, the "virtual" lineup in the Industry Selects section at TIFF is an opportunity: "The rules have changed since March, and this kind of lineup is much more advantageous for a film than waiting a long time before sales conditions become optimal again." Very early on, as soon as the French distributor (jour2fête) showed strong interest, neighboring French-speaking regions followed suit, resulting in a theatrical release schedule with back-to-back openings from September to October so that we could orchestrate a shared media campaign that would still keep the concept of exclusivity. "The strategy for global markets, excluding French-language regions, will kick off with the screening at TIFF, followed by a high-profile screening at the New York Film Festival where it will be one of the six new 'spotlight' films—along with Sofia Coppola, Spike Lee, Almodóvar." In this way, The Bureau Sales remains in line with its company ethos focused on documentaries (following films such as So Help Me God) with this production that explores the burning issue of police violence," a hard-hitting film that offers avenues for reflection without preaching." Even though the film deals with the specifically-French context, its selection at international festivals has shown that its theme and approach appeal beyond national borders, "particularly due to the fact that the social crises we're experiencing at this time are global phenomena. Once sales start to roll in, we'll see if distibutors are ready to offer audiences a counter-narrative to the one that's upheld by in many countries by the law-enforcement authorities." As concerns the company's perception of the market, Clémentine Hugot sees it as being in a state of "overhaul, with no certainties, where some distributors considering that we're in the throes of a paradigm shift and others believing that we'll be able to pick up where we left off. It's hard to predict because we're still taking one day at a time. I've said 'I don't know' far too many times since March!"

Short films

All up, there are 4 short films (including 2 coproductions) representing France at tiff.2020. The following 3 films will be presented at Short Cuts 3, which confronts "the past, the present, and at least one possible future" (Sept. 13, 6:00 p.m. online at Bell Digital Cinema).

 Navozande, the Musician is a heart-wrenching love story. Réza Riàhi sets his tale in Persia in the 13th century at the time of the Mongol invasion. A young musician and the love of his life are separated from each other. Through a stunning paper-cut animation, the lovers are reunited fifty years later when the musician comes to play at the castle where she held as a prisoner.
After studying art in Teheran, Réza Riàhi followed the Visual Arts Expression stream at the École Européenne Supérieure de l’Image in Angoulême, then studied Animated Film Direction at La Poudrière animation school. While a student, he made several films including the highly acclaimed Between Dog And Wolf, his graduation film which was presented in the Official Selection at Annecy in 2015.

 Les Tissus blancs (France/Senegal) is a tense and nuanced drama by Senegalese director Moly Kane. Zuzana is getting married tomorrow. From now on, every minute counts for her to become the woman she is expected to be as she desperately and courageously fights to erase her past.
Moly Kane studying writing for film and television in Senegal before following a short training course at La fémis. His first film, Moly, premiered at Cannes Classics in 2011. A screenwriter, director, and producer, he also campaigns for the promotion of African cinema. He is currently president of the Dakar Court International Short Film Festival.

Dustin is the first professional short film by Naïla Guiguet. The film is set in an abandoned warehouse. Dustin, a young trans, and a gang of friends let themselves go wild at a party. As the night stretches on, collective hysteria turns into melancholy. A subtle portrait of a young generation that aspires to tenderness.
A graduate of the Screenplay department at La fémis, Naïla Guiguet directed her final-year film, Though Skin, at the school. In parallel to directing, she writes screenplays in collaboration with Arnaud Desplechin, Catherine Corsini, and Thomas Salvador. She is also a DJ and organizes LGBTI+ techno parties with the Collectif Possession, of which she is a founding member.

Fresh news from France from Le Film Français

A dynamic reactivation of the production industry
By Sarah Drouhaud

 Halted by the lockdown that began on March 17, film shoots resumed after lockdown restrictions eased gradually from May 11. In Paris, when lockdown first ended, film shoots were able to continue if they respected certain restrictions (such as a limitation on the number of people on set), which were not removed fully until early July. Producer's and entertainment industry worker's unions put together a shared health and safety guide, which was approved by government authorities. Nonetheless, the big turning point for productions to return to work on set was the creation of a state fund of €50 million provided by the government, administered by the CNC. This fund covers the risk engendered by the Covid crisis (up to 20% of the film's budget, up to a maximum of €1.2) that is not covered by insurance companies.
In late May/early June, the priority was for the resumption of film shoots that had begun prior to lockdown, such as Eiffel by Martin Bourboulon (photo), Farewell Mr Haffmann by Fred Cavayé, Christmas with the Tuche by Olivier Baroux, and King by David Moreau, as well as Peaceful by Emmanuelle Bercot, which has stopped in the fall of 2019 and was scheduled to resume in April. These productions were followed by those that had been in the late stage of pre-production on March 17, including the new film by François Ozon starring Sophie Marceau (Tout s'est bien passé) and Kung Fu Zohra by Mabrouk El Mechri. Even though some productions have been postponed until 2021 (such as Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom by Guillaume Canet), the number of films in production has surged since the summer and the fall season is set to be very busy, with Yvan Attal shooting Les Choses humaines, Julien Rappeneau Le Trésor du Petit Nicolas Davidt and Stéphane Foenkinos Les Fantasmes, and Catherine Corsini gearing up for her next film La Fracture.

Author : Communications

Latest update : 14 September 2020 à 12:20 CEST


Linked to this news article

Linked films (15)

Linked individuals (26)

Related companies (11)


Avenue B Productions

Activities :  Co-production, Executive Producer

Recent filmography : Loving Memories, Two Tickets to Greece, Origin of Evil, ...


CNC - Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée

Activities :  Executive Producer

Activities external to film production :  Organization, Unifrance Partner

Recent filmography :



Activities external to film production :  Talent Agency


Curzon Artificial Eye

Activities :  Foreign distributor (feature film)

Activities external to film production :  Foreign distributor (feature film), Exhibitor

Recent filmography : Godland, Rodeo, Triangle of Sadness, ...


La Poudrière - École du Film d'Animation

Activities :  Executive Producer

Recent filmography : Blind Drunk, Claude’s Own Spring, I Am Not, ...


La fémis

Activities :  Line production, Co-production, Foreign production company, Executive Producer

Activities external to film production :  Film School

Recent filmography : All of This Belongs to You, Marchands de sable, 360°, ...


Le Bureau

Activities :  Co-production, Executive Producer

Recent filmography : Prudence Ledoux Has the Wind in Her Sail, The Sitting Duck, For a Fistful of Fries, ...



Activities :  Film exports/foreign sales, Co-production

Recent filmography : , Under the Fig Trees, , ...



Activities :  Foreign distributor (feature film), Buyer (feature films)

Recent filmography : Peter Von Kant, France, Les Choses humaines, ...


The Bureau Sales

Activities :  Film exports/foreign sales, Co-production, French distribution

Recent filmography : The Sitting Duck, For a Fistful of Fries, Lifelines, ...



Activities :  Co-production, French distribution , Executive Producer

Recent filmography : Paradise, And Yet We Were Not Blind, Ashkal, ...

Linked events (3)


San Sebastian International Film Festival (SSIFF) - 2019

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : All films


TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : All films


Cannes International Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : International festival