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Guy Daleiden • Director, Film Fund Luxembourg

"Give our societies the opportunity to diversify, and to not miss the digital boat"

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- We met with Guy Daleiden, the director of the Film Fund Luxembourg, who chatted to us about the state of Luxembourg’s audiovisual sector today

Guy Daleiden  • Director, Film Fund Luxembourg

The Film Fund Luxembourg is hosting the 16th edition of the French-Speaking Co-Production Meetings (RCF – Rencontres de Coproduction Francophones). Guy Daleiden, the director of the Film Fund Luxembourg, spoke with us about the aim of these Meetings, as well as the current state of Luxembourg’s audiovisual sector and the greatest challenges it faces over the years to come.

Cineuropa: What is the aim of the French-Speaking Co-Production Meetings?
Guy Daleiden: The aim of the French-Speaking Co-Production Meetings, which bring together 6 northern, French-speaking countries (Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, France, Quebec, Switzerland), joined this year by Tunisia, is to try to organise co-productions between our different territories. It’s a hugely important meeting point for our professionals, producers, filmmakers, distributers, broadcasters… Even if they already know one another, here they are find themselves “shut in” together, for two or three days; it’s the ideal moment to swap ideas, talk, present their projects, analyse them, to go a bit further, to forge or develop relationships. The audiovisual production sector revolves first and foremost around human beings, around meetings. The working relationships which develop are often like marriages! It provides attendees with the opportunity to get to know each other better, to develop richer collaborations.

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What initial assessment can we make regarding the state of Francophone production?
I think that Francophone production is doing well, going by the number of works produced and in gestation. Joining together allows us to gather together the funds we need. Co-production is essential across territories such as ours, but we also need to unite our artistic skills and qualities. Opening up to international co-productions is also a way of broadening our artistic and creative horizons. We’re looking to diversify in term of partners and to explore new genres, notably by turning towards the South – Tunisia, Africa, the Middle East – or towards the North, with Canada, of course. Our creators have different histories and cultures, other visions of the world, which can join together in film. Viewers are also looking for something other than American or Asian blockbusters.

Take Tel Aviv on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sameh Zoabi
film profile
]
, for example: a Luxembourg company which is a majority producer of a film directed by a Palestinian and Israeli filmmaker. It’s a real ode to diversity, and we’re incredibly proud to be presenting it at the Oscars.

What opportunities are currently drawing co-producers towards the Luxembourg film industry?
About thirty years ago, we tried to lure productions to come and spend in Luxembourg by way of our highly advantageous tax system. But this automatic tax system disappeared 5 years ago and has been replaced by a selective grant along the lines of an advance on earnings. The aim isn’t to find projects which will spend money in Luxembourg, but projects of a more important kind which allow us to grow both our industry and our know-how on an international level. We look to highlight the multicultural nature of the filming experience, the quality of our producers.

I think we’ve caught up in terms of where we were 30 years ago when we first started to develop the sector. Given that we don’t have a national TV channel to invest in production, we have focused our attention on international co-productions so that we can make films right here, in Luxembourg. Our film and post-production studios are highly reputed, and the quality of our producers has come on leaps and bounds! They’re very familiar with the ins and outs of the various co-producing countries.

We’ve also acquired real expertise in animated film, whether aimed at younger or adult audiences. When I look at the Oscar nominations we’ve had in the past few years, there’s a lot to be proud of.

What are the biggest challenges over the next five years?
What we really shouldn’t do is rest on our laurels, congratulating ourselves on all our work over the past 30 years, and the international renown we now enjoy. There are two main challenges.

Firstly, we must continue to promote Luxembourg wherever opportunities present themselves. For example, we’re currently strengthening our links with Quebec and Canada by signing collaboration agreements and by encouraging Canadian producers to make a point of looking in our direction, especially now that they’re members of Eurimages and are on the look-out for European partners.

Secondly, we mustn’t overlook technological developments. Virtual or augmented reality - these immersive experiences don’t seem to me to be an end in themselves, but rather an opportunity, a path which could take us somewhere. I don’t know where yet, but if we’re not careful – proactive, even - we won’t be ready when the time comes. The Film Fund must show the way, give our societies the opportunity to diversify and to not miss the digital boat.

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(Translated from French)

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