Nicolas Philibert: ‘A Director Driven To Make A Statement Cannot Make Cinema’

Variety | 1/18/2019 | Ben Croll
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PARIS — For over two decades, French documentarian Nicolas Philibert has examined his country’s various public institutions with a watchmaker’s calm and anthropologist’s curiosity.

In films like “To Be and To Have,” “La Maison de la Radio” and “Louvre City,” he’s taken his camera into schoolhouses, broadcast hubs and the world’s most famous museum. His latest film, “Each and Every Moment” takes a look at his country’s healthcare system, following a group of nursing students as they undertake their first on-the-job training.

Doc - Film - International - Sales - Film

With Doc & Film International handling worldwide sales, the film plays UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema on Friday Jan. 18.

How has the documentary landscape evolved throughout the course of your career?

Landscape - Years - France - Documentaries - Theaters

The documentary landscape has greatly changed in recent years. In France, there are now more documentaries playing in theaters than ever before. There seems to be one or two every week, which means that something between 50 -100 come out every year. Twenty years ago, there were a lot less. However that does not make the process any easier. While there are a greater number of possible financiers, those sources don’t always offer that much money. Today filmmakers turn to local TV channels, crowdfunding platforms like KissKissBankBank and self-financing, and often work with pretty tight economy. Though it’s tough to generalize, because in documentary as in narrative fiction there are rich productions and poor productions and everything in between.

Broadcast and cable have always been key partners in terms of getting the films out there, but they haven’t always been reliable for funding.

Difference - Documentaries - Cinema - Television - Fact

There’s real difference between documentaries financed by and for the cinema, and those that are simply made for television. In actual fact, there are very few films financed by the major TV players for the cinema. ARTE produces only three per year, and now Canal Plus is doing...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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