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                                                                                                                        Friday 17 May 2019

                                                                                                                                               © MELUSINE PRODUCTIONS

                  SIX PRODUCERS TO WATCH

                  DÉSIRÉE NOSBUSCH &              STÉPHAN ROELANTS
                  ALEXANDRA HOESDORFF
                                                  • Melusine Productions
                  • Deal Productions              •   Ethel & Ernest, Zero Impunity,
                  • Sawah, Flatland                The Breadwinner, The Swallows
                                                   of Kabul, Wolfwalkers
                  NICOLAS STEIL
                                                  DAVID GRUMBACH
                  • Iris Productions
                  •   Never Grow Old, Bad Banks,   • Bac Cinema
                    Justice Dot Net, Tremors      •   Standby, Le Tout Nouveau
                                                   Testament, Peter and Wendy, Funam                FIVE FILMS IN THE PIPELINE
                  CLAUDE WARINGO                   - The New People, Mary Shelley      The Prince’s
                                                                                       Journey,        FRITZI - A MIRACULOUS
                  • Samsa Film                    STÉPHANE HUEBER-BLIES                directed by     REVOLUTIONARY TALE
                  •   Superjhemp Retörns,                                              Laguionie and
                    California Dreaming, Escapada,   • a_Bahn                          Xavier Picard   • Animation
                    Histoire(s) de femme(s)       •   The Tourist Experience, Zero Impunity            • Directed by Ralf Kukula & Matthias Bruhn
                                                                                                       •  Doghouse Films (LU), Balance Film (DE),
                                                                                                        TrickStudio Lutterbeck (DE), Maur Film (CZ),
                                                                                                        Artemis Productions (BE)
                 American competitors, Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles   animation, the country boasts a wealth of homegrown talent,
                 2. Comparable results for Grand Duchy feature films can be   notably in the form of specialist firms such as Mélusine   JUMBO
                 found looking back to 1983 with Conge fir e Mord by Paul   Productions, whose most recent offering, The Prince’s Journey
                 Scheuer (42,619 admissions), or to 2002 with Le Club des   by Jean-François Laguionie and Xavier Picard, has just been   • Fiction (Fantastic)
                 chômeurs by Andy Bausch (33,816 admissions).   announced as an official participant in the Annecy   • Directed by Zoé Wittock
                                                          International Animated Film Festival.        •  Les Films Fauves (LU), Insolence
                 FILM FUND SPURS GROWTH                   In 1992, Pol Cruchten’s Wedding Night – End of the Song saw   Productions (FR), Kwassa Films (BE)
                 Standing behind the slightly crazy gamble that is   Luxembourg travel to Cannes for the very first time and the
                 Superchamp Returns, we find Samsa Film, the biggest   Grand Duchy has enjoyed a constant presence at the Festival   SPRINGWELL
                 production company in Luxembourg which is somewhat  ever since, with A Sun That Never Sets by Olivier Laxe (a
                 responsible for recent developments in the country’s film   Spain-France-Lux co-production via Tarantula) clinching a   • Fiction (Thriller)
                 industry. In 1989, just as this young company was   spot for the Grand Duchy in this year’s official selection. For   • Directed by Christian Volckman
                 commencing operations, it was entrusted with the production   17 years now, the Luxembourg contingent has manned its   •  Bidibul Productions (LU), Les Films du Poisson
                 of Schacko Klak by Paul Kieffer & Fränk Hoffmann, the first   pavilion at the Marché du Film, in which 20 companies, more   (FR), Versus Production (BE), Hildegarde (FR)
                 ever full-length film in the Luxembourg language. This   or less, are represented every year. Managers of the Film Fund
                 historical drama set during World War II was intended to   and the CNA — who are particularly active within the   THE PRINCE’S JOURNEY
                 mark the 150th anniversary of the Grand Duchy’s   francophone network — meet routinely with their foreign   • Animation
                 independence. Its success among critics and audiences alike   institutional partners in Cannes (WBI, UniFrance, CNC,   •  Directed by Jean-François Laguionie,
                 would lead to an unprecedented mobilisation of the industry   Swiss Films, Quebec’s SODEC and TéléFilm Canada).   Xavier Picard
                 and a desire for greater professionalism within the country’s                         •  Melusine Productions (LU),
                 production structures.                   FOCUS ON CO PRODUCTION                        Blue Spirit Productions (FR)
                 Soon afterwards, the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel was   Moreover, in November 2019, the Grand Duchy will host
                 created, as was the Film Fund, a key body in charge of   the co-production gathering, Rencontres de Coproduction   THREE LAKES
                 implementing the national policy for the support of film   Francophone. Focusing on the role of music in film, this
                 production. Whereas, pre-1990, most films were shot under   16th edition, which will bring together some 200 producers   • Documentary
                 semi-professional conditions, the Fund fostered the   hailing from all corners of the francophone world, will   • Directed by Fabrizio Maltese
                 development of a market. Over 700 works of fiction and   provide national players with an opportunity to highlight   • Joli Rideau Media (LU)
                 animation, as well as documentaries, short films and   the major role played by Luxembourg in the field of
                 transmedia projects, all saw the light of day thanks to the   co-production: no less than 15 fiction projects are
                 financial support it provided. This selective aid is allocated at  co-produced  yearly,  not to mention numerous
                 regular intervals and comes in the form of discretionary loans,   documentaries and shorts. Prime examples include the
                 and by means of other types of financial support which have   recent work Tel Aviv on Fire by Sameh Zoabi, which comes   and known for its international expertise in virtual reality.
                 recently been put in place (Carte Blanche, CinéWorld, Video   courtesy of Samsa (Lux-Israel-France-Belgium), and David  In fact, the latest edition of the Luxembourg City Film
                 clips). For the Fund’s managing director Guy Daleiden, the   Lambert’s Troisièmes Noces brought to us by Bidibul   Festival benefited from Quebecois expertise which
                 picture is clear: “30 years after the creation of this organisation,  (Lux-Belgium-Canada).  substantially bolstered its programme of immersive
                 the dream of a film industry, which seemed illusory at the   On the European front, Luxembourg is a participant in the   experiences; 10 works were presented, including Fan Club
                 time, has now become a reality.”         Europe Creative MEDIA programme; indeed, one of its   by Vincent Ravalec, which was co-produced with the
                 As it stands in Luxembourg today, there are around thirty   most longstanding national beneficiaries is the ongoing   Luxembourg arm of a_BAHN. Alexis Juncosa, artistic
                 production companies, 15 post-production companies, a host   training facilitator, EAVE, which was awarded an assistance   director of the Festival — celebrating its 10th edition in
                 of studios specialising in special effects and numerous   package of €585,000 in 2017. The Grand Duchy is also a  2020 — stresses rising quality of national works: “Whereas
                 companies offering services linked to this sector, which, as a   signatory to co-production treaties, with Switzerland,   previous generations facilitated the emergence of reputed
                 whole, employs close to 600 people (technicians, directors,   France, Austria and Ireland in particular. In February 2018,   technicians, technical managers and producers through
                 authors). In 2013, the country’s biggest ever film studio   Luxembourg and Canada signed a historic agreement to   co-production support, it is now in writing and directing
                 opened its doors, offering set areas spread across over 4,000   promote audiovisual co-development and co-production,   that the most spectacular advances are taking place. Barrage’s
                 sq m, and Filmland Kehlen is the happy result of a   with a total sum of €1,200,000 available to enterprises on   Laura Schroeder and Gutland’s Govinda Van Maele, who
                 collaboration between six local producers — Bidibul  both sides of the Atlantic over a two-year period. The Film   recently distinguished themselves on the festival circuit with
                 Productions, Iris Productions, Lucil Films, Paul Thiltges   Fund and Digital Luxembourg also work closely with the   their first films, are two examples of this.” Clearly, we haven’t
                 Distribution, Samsa Film and Tarantula. In terms of   Centre Phi, a multi-disciplinary body based in Montreal   heard the last of Luxembourg creators.✦

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