David Borgeaud, the producer at Roue Libre Production, is also in charge of the professional section of the International Francophone Film Festival for the past 4 years. Between the preparation of the festival and Mother Schmuckers by Harpo and Lenny Guit release, which he produces, he found the time to meet Moonday to talk about the FIFF PRO program.
On Tuesday 5 October you are organising the Belgian Film Day. How does this day work in practice?
We've been organising it for 15 years now. The idea is to promote Belgian cinema to distributors at all levels: festival programmers, international sales representatives, national and international distributors, cinema operators, cultural centre managers and professionals from educational networks, such as Point Culture, for example.
This day includes two flagship sessions (one documentary and one fiction) during which we present films. The documentary session this year presents 6 documentaries selected by the festival, including one in competition. After the excerpts, there is time to discuss and debate with the directors who present their films. It's always a great moment because the audience is talkative and enjoys the Q&A. Javier Packer-Comyn from the Centre de l'Audiovisuel in Brussels leads this session organised in collaboration with SCAM.
The second session, for fiction, is faster because we present between 10 and 15 films. We make a call for targeted films according to the theatrical releases of the next few months. We approach producers and distributors who present their movies during this day. We only show the trailers, unlike the documentary session where we show extracts. It's more dynamic, but there's less time to go into detail.
After the screenings, "L'apéro du long" allows producers with projects in production or post-production to present their films to festival programmers and international sales representatives with the aim of finding, why not, a world premiere for their project. This is a more informal reception, in a speed-meeting way, over a drink.
Finally, there is the Magritte Non-General Assembly, an information session for professionals on what's new at Magritte each year, what will (or won't) happen at Magritte this year.
For the professionals reading this, is it still possible to register for any of these activities? How does it work?
Registrations can be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. To be kept up to date, professionals can also subscribe to the newsletter dedicated to them.
Is it possible to stream the Belgian Film Day?
Yes, both sessions, documentaries and fiction, will be streamed, as well as the Non-AG of the Magritte. We initiated this last year with the pandemic; we realise that it is easier for internationals. But of course, we prefer to welcome people to the theatre! Firstly to see the extracts and the trailer on the big screen, and secondly, to make the debate much more enjoyable.
You also organise workshops dedicated to the "young generation" and projects in development.
There is Generation Talent, which is celebrating its 11th edition this year. It is a workshop for young actors who meet casting directors and agents. Several actors have met their agent or remembered a casting director through this workshop and convinced them.
We also organise a shooting day where young directors from the short film competition direct the actors who participate in Generation Talent. They have 45 minutes of work together during which we hope to create synergies between them, and then 45 minutes on a film set to direct two scenes written especially for the occasion by ASA scriptwriters. We are delighted with this new collaboration which includes the scriptwriters in the workshop. In previous years, we used pre-existing film scenes. This workshop gives a short movie that lasts between 10 and 12 minutes. It is screened at the end of the Belgian Film Day, before the film of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the RTBF gala.
After the festival, the FIFF PRO offers other springboards to the young generation, particularly the directors selected for the short film competition.
Indeed, the FIFF PRO is a year-round event thanks to the Caravan Workshop (formerly La Manufacture). It takes place in March, during the Caravan of the Short Film. Directors selected in the short films competition can present their film during the caravan all over Wallonia. Meanwhile, they also participate in a workshop supervised by professionals setting up interventions, working groups, etc. The workshop aims to accelerate the transition from short to feature film, as this stage is often very long.
What is the event not to miss this year?
The president of our feature film jury will be given a screenplay lesson. Thomas Litli is a director, a screenwriter and a doctor. He has directed Hippocrate, Première année and Médecin de campagne, among others. Given his background, it will be very interesting to see how he manages to transpose the medical environment first to the written word and then to the screen.
What's new this year that will surprise the regulars?
The covid-safe ticket? (Laughs)
On a more serious note, the Forum is back this year! It's not new, but it's important to underline it because It is one of the leading workshops of Namur.
The Forum focuses on development-stage projects and brings together the producer and director for four days in Namur in the intimacy and caring of a small group. It is a non-competitive workshop, which is rare in festivals, where many workshops offer prizes and thus create a competitive spirit. We don't want people to defend their project in front of and against an audience of experts... In Namur, we work collaboratively. We take time to meet and learn to know each other. Then we can trust each other and exchange. The meetings with the experts last 1.5 hours. They are not 15-minute speed meetings like we are so used to seeing. We work in-depth and encourage exchanges with the experts, but also between the participants themselves.
There are 5 projects this year, representative of the entire French-speaking world:
The 4 experts also come from different French-speaking countries.
Do you have any examples of films passed from the Forum to the big screen?
It seems to me that the last one was The Mercy of Jungle, by Joël Karekezi, a co-production of Rwanda, Belgium and France. We also had The Benefit of the Doubt by Samuel Tilman, Baden Baden by Rachel Lang and many others! We have analysed 120 projects since the beginning of the Forum, and more or less half of them have been released.