L’Atelier 2017

Georges Goldenstern and the filmmakers of the Cinefondation’s Atelier 2017 © Christophe Bouillon / FDC

For the thirteenth year in a row, the directors of films deemed to be promising were invited to attend the Cinéfondation's L'Atelier. Accompanied by their producers, they met with potential partners, essential to bringing their projects to fruition and their films to life. With Georges Goldenstern at its helm, L’Atelier gives participants access to the world of international co-production, speeding up the production process.

Fifteen projects from fourteen different countries were selected for the 13th edition of L'Atelier, from fresh, emerging talent to seasoned directors. Over the course of a week, meetings and lunches for these professionals were held in the La Pantiero marquee, in a focussed atmosphere despite being within striking distance of Cannes' port. We spoke to L'Atelier alumni in a bid to find out what this year's films can expect in the near future…


From concept to finished film:

Didar Domehri, producer of La Cordillera by Santiago Mitre, Un Certain Regard 2017

As an international sales director, I used to attend L’Atelier during the Festival de Cannes to listen to pitches for the selected projects and sell the ones I liked.

Later, as a French producer, I went to check out the projects to assess their co-production needs for France. I'm familiar with Georges Goldenstern's editorial tastes, and the projects on offer are always interesting. The Cinéfondation approves projects that have already secured 20% funding, films that are looking for extra co-producers.
Santiago Mitre's project is his third feature film. I had already co-produced Paulina, which went on to be showcased during 2015's Semaine de la Critique and win the Grand Prix. When La Cordillera reached a certain development stage, I spoke to Georges Goldenstern about it. He liked the script and chose it for L’Atelier 2016. When we arrived in Cannes, we had a lot of funding pending (30% of it), and I still hadn't got any French backing.

The Argentinian producer and I spent the entirety of 2016's edition of the Festival pitching the film at L’Atelier, selling it to international co-producers and seeking extra funding from international investors and distributors for cinemas based in France and abroad. We spent four days working around the clock, which allowed us to test the waters for the project for the first time and create a bit of a buzz. And then we found out we'd won Arte's prize for best project, and things picked up speed from there.

“Without our time at L’Atelier, La Cordillera would never have been selected for Un Certain Regard this year.”

L’Atelier, a single adventure, multiple encounters:

Deniz Gamze Ergüven, director of Mustang (2015)

Selected for L’Atelier in 2011, Deniz Gamze Ergüven failed to secure the funding she needed for The Kings, but her time at L’Atelier was nevertheless invaluable, as it was here that she met Alice Winocour, who was working on her first feature film, Augustine. The two women clicked, and Alice Winocour suggested Deniz Ergüven write a more intimate movie. The result is Mustang, a film that scooped four Césars in 2016, and was in the running for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film that same year.