Sandra da Fonseca • Producer
"Young Italian filmmakers are a rare find"
by Fabien Lemercier
- We met up with the French producer Sandra da Fonseca at the Cinemed Meetings to talk about the project Domina Maris by the Italian director Silvia Perra
A producer for the Parisian company Blue Monday Productions with Bertrand Gore and Nathalie Mesuret, Sandra da Fonseca already has As I Open My Eyes [+see also:
interview: Leyla Bouzid
film profile] by Leyla Bouzid under her belt (winner of the Audience and Europa Cinemas Label Awards at the Giornate degli Autori at Venice in 2015) and Montparnasse Bienvenüe [+see also:
interview: Léonor Serraille
film profile] by Léonor Serraille (Caméra d’Or at Cannes in 2017). We met up with her at the 40th Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival, where she pitched the Italian director Silvia Perra's project Domina Maris (ARTE Kino International Award of Rome's MIA Market), with the Sardinian outfit Ombre Rosse Film Production (Luca Cabriolu).
Cineuropa: What attracted you to the Domina Maris project?
Sandra da Fonseca: It was mainly about meeting the director. I discovered La finestra, the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia graduation film by Silvia Perra at Angers European First Film Festival. I got in contact with her and also enjoyed her third-year short film, Il bambino, a delicate topic handled with great accuracy, subtlety, sensitivity and maturity for a 25-year-old filmmaker. We decided to collaborate on the Domina Maris project. It’s an Italian co-production that started very early on, which is rather rare. We now have a first draft of the screenplay with a story that’s somewhere between Grazia's Island [+see also:
film profile] by Emanuele Crialese and Ursula Meier's Home [+see also:
interview: Kacey Mottet Klein
interview: Thierry Spicher
interview: Ursula Meier
film profile] and takes place in Sardinia, where the director is from. The film focuses on the point of view of a 12-year-old boy who has just lost his mother, one of four children raised single-handedly by their father. Next door, his uncles have opened a tourist village that threatens to ruin the family’s peasant lifestyle, which is very at one with the land. One day, the young boy meets a French tourist who reminds him a lot of his mother. This is just the starting point of the film, and I don't want to say too much about. But if all goes well, we’re hoping to film it in the autumn of 2019.
In a similar fashion to As I Open My Eyes and Montparnasse Bienvenüe, this is yet another first feature project directed by a woman. Is that a coincidence?
First feature films makes sense at this stage in my career as I am also a young producer. As for the directorial aspect, it's not an absolute rule, given that the first short film I produced was made by a man, but I'm probably more sensitive to what the directors are saying and to the way they tell stories. Young Italian filmmakers are a rare find because the European statistics unveiled during the meeting on parity, equality and diversity in cinema (which recently took place in Paris) show that the number of women in the Italian film industry is at a truly catastrophic level.
Blue Monday Productions is characterised by the fact that we don’t produce a lot of films, but those we do produce we spend a lot of time on, working intensely and driven by a strong desire. Our editorial line is about auteur cinema in the broadest sense of the word, and we’re open to the contemporary world. It is also about knowing how to reinvent yourself, which is no mean feat. We are opting for an increasing number of European co-productions, sometimes preferring to work as representatives so that we can be at the heart of projects. Finally, fidelity is an important aspect for us, as is the case with Nadir Moknèche’sfifth feature film and Christophe Blanc’s third feature film.
What are some of Blue Monday's current projects?
Just Kids by Christophe Blanc (read the article here) is currently in post-production, while the co-production Les Châtelains by Véro Crazborn (article) is currently being filmed, Petite leçon d’amour by Ève Deboise is in the financing stage, Une histoire d’amour et de désir by Leyla Bouzid is just getting started with financing, and the next films by Nadir Moknèche and Léonor Serraille are currently in the writing stage.
(Translated from French)
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