TESTIMONY OF THE WEEK
When Isabelle Fauvel awarded a script consultancy for my project “Fantasia” at the 2016 Thessaloniki IFF’s Crossroads Co-production Forum, I had no idea how helpful that would be for the project. Isabelle x-rayed the script, came up with some outstanding suggestions, she literally pulled the focus on things and helped me answer cardinal questions about the story and the characters. So, I’m very grateful for your help Isabelle and I look forward to asking for your mentoring again. Alexis Kardaras, film director - writer, Greece
Today and tomorrow, Isabelle is in Beijing to take part in StoryDrive 2017 and talk about adaptation and its development process.
Leading minds from all over the world, especially from major Asian markets will illuminate the future of media and entertainment. They will share their knowledge and provide the tools you need to make the most of your business and to discover successful crossmedia and transmedia approaches.
StoryDrive is an all-media platform in Asia dedicated to exploring new forms of collaboration and business models across media boundaries. In 2012 and 2013, Frankfurt Book Fair and German Book Information Center (Beijing) have successfully organized StoryDrive China at Beijing CIFTIS Fair. In 2014 the conference has been expanded and renamed to StoryDrive, in order to encourage more transmedia exchange and trade inside Asia. Starting 2016, StoryDrive at CIFTIS will be the main location for StoryDrive worldwide.
8 Questions for Isabelle Fauvel
Dear Ms. Fauvel, what have you been busy with lately?
My company is primarily involved in the development of feature films. In addition to performing script analysis at all the different stages of the writing process, we are also engaged in international talents scouting. Right now, we are preparing for the Cannes Film Festival.
How is the European film market doing at the moment and what are the most interesting latest trends and developments?
In terms of production, the European market isn’t so bad but the equation becomes more complex when it comes to distribution. As regards our field of expertise, we’ve noticed an easier circulation of talents for the last 10 years. One of the trends is the genre author movies (like Julia Ducournau’s Raw) or animated features.
In 1993, you founded a consulting company called “Initiative Film”, dedicated to film development. What was the driving force behind this decision ? How should we understand the term “film development”?
As a producer, I have always sought creative dialogue with people who didn’t have an agenda regarding the projects I was producing, and I was surprised that this job didn’t really exist in France or in Europe. So I have made an attempt at creating a company that could be like a second office for producers, but also an interlocutor for directors related to the following activities : subject research, book scouting, script analysis, scriptwriters casting, training programs creation… « Film development: this term cannot be easily defined as it comprises talent / film / script development, and it should be understood as a process that precedes and accompanies the production of a film.
Initiative Film also helps filmmakers to find the perfect book to adapt. What are the main criteria of a perfect book for adaptation ?
There should be an intimate connection between a director’s style and the story, or the novel’s writing, a subject that echoes with something personal or intimate, and of course taking into account the irrational factor that creates an alchemy by putting the right book into the right hands…
What kind of a role do projects like "Shoot the Book!" play in this context of matching publishing material and filmmakers?
A double role. The first is familiarizing producers and directors who have never dealt with book adaptations. The second is highlighting books the potential of which has been acknowledged.
A mission of the StoryDrive event in Beijing is to explore possibilities in “storytelling and storyselling”. Does your daily work involve both aspects? Which part is more challenging ?
We work around “storytelling ” in our script analysis by trying to find the best way to match the script we’ve received and read to the writers’ and directors’ intentions, and help them reach that point. The “storyselling ” part of our job is in book and talents scouting, so it’s more about finding the right books, talents and projects for the producers who commission us to conduct a research than “selling ” them a story. But we try to present the books, talents and projects we scout for them in a way that will allow them to see what we saw in there for them. So they are both equally challenging in their own way.
Do you plan to have any new projects connected with China in the near future? Do you have a favorite Chinese author or filmmaker?
Of course there is a professional curiosity in establishing links with Chinese professionals, like we do with many other countries. Attending StoryDrive is a way of finding out the specific needs and expectations that can be in China. My favorite Chinese filmmakers are Diao Yinan, Jia Zhangke, and Zhang Yimou.
What expectation do you have towards your participation in the StoryDrive conference and your stay in Beijing?
Meeting local professionals, being able to share on the way we work and build bridges that could prove to be useful in the near future.
Isabelle Fauvel will be speaking at the Storydrive Conference in Beijing (31 May – 1 June 2017)
Bound to the event from the very beginning, we are very happy to announce this year's Shoot the Book ! pitching, which will feature 2 German novels for the first time along with French ones.
So save the date for May 23rd in Cannes !