Aurélie Réveillaud and Charlotte Monnier • Forum Surroundings
– On behalf of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg and the Grand Est Region, the project leaders discussed the next edition of the Forum Alentours – Rhine meeting of co-production
Aurélie Réveillaud (left) and Charlotte Monnier
The next Surroundings Forum will take place in Strasbourg from June 28 to 30, 2022. One week before the closing of its call for projects (see the news), Aurelie Wakelaud (in charge of international relations within the cinema and audiovisual department of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis) and Charlotte Monnier (project coordinator for CinEuro – Grand Est Region), who respectively manage the event on behalf of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg and the Grand Est Region (co-organizers alongside Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg), have lifted the veil on the philosophy and the strong points of the event.
Cineuropa: What are the strengths of the Surroundings Forum and have you changed the concept of the event?
Aurélie Réveillaud: The event, which we initiated in 2002, has changed a lot and has really been transformed. There are two facets: on the one hand, we have pitches and face-to-face meetings, and on the other, round tables. A few years ago, we favored the former. What the Forum Alentours does is allow French-speaking and German-speaking professionals, many of whom are producers and financiers, to meet around a catalog of 25 projects. These projects are pitched with a view to developing an international strategy and finding co-producers during the Forum, with French speakers looking for German speakers and vice versa. We have five partner countries: France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The only change we introduced this time around is to reduce the number of projects to 25, down from 34 in previous years. But motivated and relevant producers without a project can also join them, in order to take advantage of the meetings offered by the Forum. Because a producer who does not have a project but who is looking for partners is just as important to us: he can, for example, be in the development phase of certain projects and is looking for co-producers from other countries. And the main objective of our event is to consolidate a network of producers. In addition, we help registered producers to identify and try to organize the B-to-B meetings that are most advantageous to them. We organize somewhere in the region of 300 individual meetings. As for the case studies and round tables, the subjects of these are topical in Europe and beyond, because the particularity of our event is to work on ambitious international strategies for producers, but always in a broader cross-border framework. territory: in addition to producers from the Grand Est region and Baden-Württemberg, we have for several years been welcoming producers from all walks of life from our five partner countries, from Berlin to Bordeaux via Paris.
What criteria do you use to select projects? And what genres do you prefer?
AR: We choose projects with strong international strategies and strong co-production potential vis-à-vis our partner countries. Works we have previously selected in our forum include Gutland [+see also:
interview: Govinda Van Maele
film profile] by Govinda Von Maele, Chris the Swiss [+see also:
interview: Anja Kofmel
film profile] by Anja Kofmelthe animated movie Fritzi – A revolutionary tale [+see also:
film profile] by Mathias Bruhn and Ralf Kukula, and Lena Karbeit’s documentary black mambas, which premiered yesterday at CPH:DOX. Of course, we strongly encourage bilateral co-productions whether Franco-German, Franco-Belgian or Franco-Swiss for example, but the idea is to work with more partners, where possible, to favor co-production tripartite or even quadripartite. -productions. Clearly, we decide on a case-by-case basis, depending on the preferences and motivations of each producer and the feasibility of the project. But the mainstay of a producer’s financing and motivation can, for example, be Franco-German, as was the case for sibel [+see also:
interview: Çağla Zencirci and Guillaum…
film profile] by Çağla Zencirci and William Giovannia project which then entered into co-production with Luxembourg and Turkey in order to shoot on location.
In terms of genre, we are open to film or television fiction, documentaries and animation to some extent as well. We even received some transmedia UFOs on this occasion. We take care to ensure a good balance with regard to genres, but also with regard to the countries of origin. We are also open to series, because we follow the evolution of this particular market. Indeed, the producers behind the Franco-German series bad banks, Eden and Algiers Confidential and behind the Franco-German-Belgian work Parliament [+see also:
interview: Benjamin Elalouf
series profile] have already shared their experiences at our case study events.
Are there differences in project approaches between countries?
AR: Working with different writing and production cultures is not always easy, which explains the need to work on this issue. In terms of writing, especially when it comes to historical projects, the different countries do not always have the same visions of their projects. And we don’t work on scriptwriting in the same way or according to the same chronology either; the relationships between actors and producers are also different. Co-producers need to find common ground and build trust, which means they need to get to know each other, which is always more effective in person. And that’s without forgetting the question of language, which often hides differences in culture and way of doing things. Because a co-production takes a long time, so you have to really want to do it, a factor that is much more important than having the ability to put together a co-production. Then, you have to know how to adapt: how do you manage to write together? How are you developing the project? How long should this take? etc But when it works, you realize that it’s often the start of a great adventure with co-producers who have already worked together, like Les Films du Tambour and Riva Filmproduktion, for example.
Charlotte Monnier: The Surroundings Forum is also part of a broader, ambitious and proactive policy that is part of our extraordinary geographical location at the heart of Europe: the Grand Est Region and the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg provide support funds for production and the Surroundings Forum is also part of a European project called CinEuro, aimed at actively encouraging cross-border co-productions in the cinematographic and audiovisual field. This is a project that was initiated in 2020 as part of the INTERREG Greater Region and Upper Rhine programs and which brings together all the main institutions supporting the sector: the Greater East Region, the Strasbourg Eurometropolis, the Medien- und Filmgesellschaft du Baden-Württemberg (MFG), screen.brussels, Wallimage, the Film Fund Luxembourg and many others. In addition to pitches and B to B meetings, these partners are developing the program for the Surroundings Forum, made up of workshops and round tables on topical themes for all these cross-border countries, whether shooting green, equality and inclusion issues or funding updates, to name but a few. The pitches, B to B meetings and Case Studies, for their part, are organized in close partnership with the network of Creative Europe desks. Finally, it is important to create a friendly atmosphere during these two days in Strasbourg, which we are mainly aiming for by organizing an evening hosted by Arte (also a partner of the Forum) and another at the Musée d’Art Moderne Arts in Strasbourg.
(Translated from French)