Charles Gillibert on his new Film ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ with Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche
This isn’t our first encounter with Charles Gillibert, France’s premier film producer–Charles is a veteran Mapper, and at the time of our last interview, he was already a senior producer at MK2, a major production company, with films such as On the Road, Paranoid Park, and Certified Copy (starring Juliette Binoche), to his name.
Since we last caught up, Charles founded the production company CG Cinema, whose premier films Clouds of Sils Maria and Eden are part of the official selection for the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals.
Charles Gillibert has worked with some of the film industry’s most significant figures – from directors Olivier Assayas, Xavier Dolan and Gus van Sant to stars such as Juliette Binoche, Viggo Mortenson, Amy Adams, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Grace Moretz, Francois Cluzet, and Gérard Depardieu.
While at MK2, Charles produced more than fifteen films on an international box office scale and later joined the board. During this time, Charles Gillibert launched MK2 Music and in 2013, he founded CG Cinema with the vision of director development, international collaboration and support of independent films in mind.
During our conversation Charles reveals more about CG Cinema and offers candid advice to aspiring film industry entrepreneurs – from how to obtain funding, work with investors, and the challenges he faces with starting a new company.
This time round we wanted to find out more from Charles how he made the journey from top film producer to top production company founder?
“You have to find a way to translate creative experience into an investment product while keeping the integrity of the project. It is more and more about financiers running this industry… Independent films–is what I want to preserve and fight for” Charles Gillibert
CM: Why did you decide to start your own company ?
At a certain point you have to follow your own path if you want to progress onto the next step. One day you wake up and it becomes clear that you are not where you’re supposed to be anymore. An idea comes into your mind and you have to pursue it. Maybe it is the same for an artist who encounters his next project. At the moment where he thinks about it, even without knowing what it is going to be precisely, he knows it is going to be the next years of his life.
CM: Is it difficult to find financing for independent films ?
Making a film is always a bit of a miracle, but it is not that difficult to find financing for it if you can show why you have a unique project and if you are in synch with what is relevant to today’s world. Independent movies look fragile, and your job as producer is to make them stronger than any other kind of movie in the industry. The film must feel relevant and make sense on a financial level, and your future partner needs to feel the challenge and want to take it on. To me it is crucial to be very transparent and make sure you collaborate with an investor who has a good understanding of what you’re doing. If you do not achieve this, then the movie will suffer.
CM: How do you find new directors?
I don’t really look for them, I have always found them by coincidence, and it is very self-evident when we connect. The process is very human- when your own desires, obsessions, and practices overlap with those of somebody else.
CM: What are the biggest challenges that you face at your own company that you perhaps did not have at MK2?
I would say timing. It takes between six months and a year to develop a film. If it doesn’t work out, taking on another project will set you back months. You have to create a structure, resources are limited, and delays can have a big affect on your company especially f you focus on a limited number of projects and take risks as I do. It is a question of rhythm.
CM: How do you find investors?
Finding the right investor depends on the nature of the project, and I have had many different experiences with finding financing. Investors are everywhere. From film industry professionals to your dentist. The reality is that if you keep talking about your work and your projects, and if you’re deeply involved in what you do, you will naturally meet people who could become a part of your adventures one day.
CM: Tell us about your latest film, Sils Maria?
It has been an amazing journey. Sils Maria made it to Cannes and the French release did very well. It was shown at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals. The next important step is the US release which may happen around March 2015. The film is a kind of mise en abyme. It talks about the passing of time, about art, and offers a dynamic approach to deep questions revealed by the characters portrayed by actress Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Moretz. Juliette first talked about her desire to do this film with Olivier Assayas who had written it. I introduced Kristen to Olivier, and I had the chance to work with Scorsese who spoke highly of Chloe Moretz who he had directed in Hugo, and the casting was done!
CM: Can you tell more about the other films you are currently working on?
I am at the New York Film Festival to introduce Eden by Mia Hansen Love. It is a movie about the “french touch”, those French DJ’s who at the end of the 90’s internationally galvanized electronic music in an incredible way all around the world. The main charachter is inspired by Mia Hansen Love’s brother, Sven Love who was one of them. The film is very special. Mia Hansen Love is incredibly gifted, and to me she is one of the top up and coming directors in the world. The film spans twenty years and takes us between those crazy club crowds, the strengh of the group and moments of solitude. I like films which mix melancholy and exaltation. Eden will be released in France in November 2014 and has been sold over the world during Toronto Film Festival.
We just start the editing of Mustang, our first feature film from Deniz Gamze Ergüven, a young turkish female director who brought me one of the best scripts I have ever read and who spent years casting young actresses in Turkey to play this energetic story about five young girls who live in the same house in the Turkish countryside. They have to face heavy cultural practices which go against their freedom. I am also co-producing The Forsaken with Esperanto Kino (we are now in the editing process) by Jonas Cuaron in Mexico with Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The maturity of Jonas’s cinema is very impressive. Mexican and Turkish cinema are amongst the most creative in the industry today. We are now shooting for ARTE in France Une histoire d’âme by Benedicte Accolas with Sophie Marceau. It is a very challenging project from an Ingmar Bergman’s script that he never shot.
CM: What’s next?
I have a few things coming up, but my priorities are the directors I am working with. Olivier Assayas is preparing Idol’s Eye, which is about mobs in Chicago in the late 70’s, and adapted from the true story of John Mendell. And Mia Hansen Love is working on L’Avenir starring Isabelle Huppert.
Photography Copyright: Clouds of Sils maria, Carole Béthuel, Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz, CG Cinema, Charles Gillibert