“A marriage of pleasure and high standards is where the strongest cinematic experience lies.”
– Director of Les Films du Bal and French actress for Producers on the Move talks about her career, editorial line, projects and vision for market positioning
In 2011 she founded the Parisian company Les Films du Bal (which she co-managed). Is Robin), Judith Le Levy to her credit Naddaf Lapid‘s Ahed’s knee [+see also:
interview: Nadav Lapid
film profile] (Jury Prize last year in Cannes), matte diop‘s Atlantic [+see also:
interview: Mati Diop
film profile] (Grand Prix at Cannes 2019), They walked a tightrope [+see also:
film profile] by Ilan Kleber (ACID Cannes 2020 Hors les murs) and Fort Buchanan [+see also:
film profile] by Benjamin Crotty (Locarno Signs of Life 2014), not to mention the co-production of Bertrand Bonello‘s baby zombie [+see also:
interview: Bertrand Bonello
film profile] (Directors’ Week 2019). She is the French actress for EFP’s “Mobile Producers” of the year.
Cineuropa: Why did you become a producer and what were the key stages in your career?
Judith Le Levy: I had an academic background in political science and cinema emerged as a way of working and transforming collective representations. After graduating from Sciences Po Paris in 2007, I worked with many directors and producers that can be described as radical, such as Jill Sandoz And Isild Le Biscoe. But soon I felt that in order to develop the films I was interested in, I needed to be responsible for selecting projects and making them come to fruition, and I founded Les Films du Bal in 2011. In the process, I met young filmmakers, in particular Mate Diop. We shared this desire to make what could be called lost images exist and transcend the influences associated with the genre of cinema like John Carpenter. the fog With a job she had started in Dakar in her first short film. The idea was to escape the stereotypes made by Europe by working more in metaphor and genre.
How do you define the editorial line for Les Films du Bal?
To carry, support and defend the very unique sounds of composed cinema, but also by guiding them towards themes and styles that can cater to a wide audience. Because we need to break down some of the barriers that have long been maintained, and this separation between what can be said to be serious author cinema that requires some form of pre-film education, and cinema that is more for entertainment. I am a firm believer in the ability to combine pleasure with high standards; This is where the most powerful cinematic experience lies. With my partner, Ève Robin, we are also very keen to advocate for cinema and theater at a time when the industry, particularly in France, is rife with questions about the boundaries between audiovisual and cinema. I believe that cinema is the spearhead of cultural exceptionalism in the world and, therefore, it must be defended in its exceptional system, defending cinemas and film authors because this is where the future of creativity lies. Anyway, this is where we have to fight.
In this context and for the ambitious and demanding films it produces, are international co-productions or alliances with French producers indispensable?
Cinema also represents a completely unique creative world because the diversity of funding sources provides a certain kind of editing freedom. It is this diversity that allows for a great variety of films. It is clear that international co-productions, especially European productions, are a way to give the authors’ films a much-needed boost in connection with the shrinking of the national market. and the solidarity of producers at the level of individual countries (such as the grouping of French companies formed to support them Ahed’s kneeIt can also be a way to move forward together on bold proposals.
What are your current projects?
We have a lot of feature film projects that have matured over the past few years. We are entering a new production cycle for 2022-2024. We connect naturally with authors we have already supported, such as Nadav Lapid, Mati Diop (currently in production of a documentary with a very strong political theme that I can’t talk about more) and Benjamin Crotty (for a very ambitious project in collaboration-production with Moonshaker). But we’re also working on cinema with two special projects, one of which I’m taking to Cannes for Producers on the Move. Because horror and science fiction films are an interesting meeting point between authors and the market. For example, director Tom Harari (who worked with his brother Arthur in Onoda – 10000 Nights in the Forest [+see also:
interview: Arthur Harari
film profile]but also for Kettle coilvery And brac cloudsamong others) will direct the plant, a kind of disaster film about the environment that gradually slips into horror and also tells us about our fears of a fate escaping us and separating us, as humans, from the living, with vengeance on a highly invasive plant creature. We also hope to shoot Adrian Boe‘s Fordlac In Autumn, adapted from the first vampire novel written in Europe in the nineteenth century. And let’s not forget, among other things, a project by I like Leah Rabin.
(translated from French)