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CINEMED 2020 Cinemed Meetings

Julie Viez • Producer of Le 67e été

"Working with authors without the constraint of borders is very important"

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- Cineuropa met with French producer Julie Viez of Cinenovo, pitching the project Le 67e été by Abu Bakr Shawky during the Cinemed Meetings

Julie Viez • Producer of Le 67e été

After working as head of production at CG Cinema (on films such as Non Fiction [+see also:
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interview: Olivier Assayas
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, M [+see also:
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, Knife + Heart [+see also:
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interview: Yann Gonzalez
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, Kings [+see also:
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), Julie Viez went solo with Cinenovo. The French producer is at the 42nd Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival where she is pitching for the Development Grant of the Cinemed Meetings (read the news) the project Le 67e été by Abu Bakr Shawky.

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Cineuropa: What attracted you to the project Le 67e été by Abu Bakr Shawky ?
Julie Viez: I met Abu at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and that is where we talked about this project, which follows Yomeddine [+see also:
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interview: A.B. Shawky, Dina Emam
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]
, selected in Cannes’ Official Competition the year before. What interests me the most about Le 67e été, is that it has a strong authenticity, because it is a great Egyptian fresco, a real homage to his country, like Cuarón with Roma or Pawlikowski with Cold War [+see also:
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]
. But at the same time, it is a film marked with Abu’s personality, which was already felt in Yomeddine: a vivacity and a talent for dialogues and characters which he manages to make immediately touching, completely unique and delightful. This great Egyptian fresco, it is also a love story and one that features a lot of humour.

With France, Egypt, Germany and Austria, the project already has four countries as co-producers.
This is the way I work on all my films. Cinenovo is a company that works in a very international way. When I meet a director, I do not ask myself about the language the film will be in, or where it will be shot. I favour the stories and the ambitions of the director before the financing systems. Regarding Le 67e été, Abu’s father is Egyptian and his mother is Austrian, the script is inspired by the real story of his parents who met through small ads, and naturally the film will be shot both in Egypt and Austria, two countries of course essential to the film’s co-production. France isn’t just the country I work from, it also has a great financing system in place for foreign films, so this made complete sense. Finally, since that project is rather ambitious, as it is a historical film, we needed a little bit of help with a fourth country. Because Austria and Germany work rather well together and because so do France and Germany, we decided to get Germany on board as the fourth country. Ideally, we would like to enter production in the second half of 2021.

What is Cinenovo’s editorial line?
I develop auteur cinema, so the relation with the editorial line is rather subjective. But working with authors without the constraint of borders, which may initially seem to be just a detail, is in fact very important when you know how cinema is financed in France, because it isn’t very common. I also want to work with prestigious auteur cinema because what I do isn’t “world cinema.” Abu Bakr Shawky’s new project is different from Yomeddine in that sense, because Yomeddine was closer to that “world cinema” universe. My goal is more to follow filmmakers in their ambitions, with the idea of producing for the world.

What are your other current projects?
La Salamandre, which Cinenovo is producing with High Sea Productions, was shot at the end of last year in Brazil with Marina Foïs and Anna Mouglalis. The film is directed by Alex Carvalho and co-produced by Tribus P in France, N Filmes in Brazil, Scope Pictures in Belgium and San Cinema in Germany. Moreover, Cinenovo is now majority producer on the project Bouazizi [working title and name of the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire, an event which had triggered the Arab Spring) by Lofty Nathan, which brings together Anonymous Content and DetailFilm in Germany, with Film Constellation handling international sales. We will be filming in February if the health situation allows it and if the borders of the US, Tunisia and France are open by then.

The next film from Marie Monge (Treat Me Like Fire [+see also:
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]
), an adaptation of the bestseller La vraie vie by Adeline Dieudonné, the literary sensation of 2018, will soon enter the financing stage. I am also developing a project with Morgan Simon (A Taste of Ink [+see also:
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interview: Morgan Simon
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]
), but also Gould Lover, the feature debut from Andy Sommer, an adaptation of a small part of Glenn Gould’s life, and finally The Master of this Silence which will be the first fiction feature from Jonathan Littell, author of The Kindly Ones.

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