Project: Like Marilyn (Comme Marilyn)
Scr: Gerald Hustache-Mathieu
Estimated budget: $4.8m (Eu3.5m)

Like many film-makers inspired from an early age to make movies, Gerald Hustache-Mathieu has spent a lot of time using a Super-8 camera.

His first short, Peau De Vache, was selected for the 2001 European Film Awards and won the Cesar for best short film the same year.

His debut feature, Avril, was about a young girl who was abandoned at birth in a convent. Critics were impressed, describing it as 'charming and mystical' when it hit the festival scene in 2006.

Hustache-Mathieu's next project, Like Marilyn, is again the story of a young woman. The film-maker says he wants to create a surreal love story whereby the woman is dead and the man is alive.

The woman, Candice, lives in France's coldest town. Her future is promising, with jobs that include representing local dairy products and weather girl for the local TV station.

But the day Parisian publisher David Rousseau arrives in town to help Candice write a book on her life, her dead body is found in woods on the Switzerland/France border - a place where there is little chance of a police investigation. The police conclude it is suicide.

Rousseau steps in, working off Candice's diary and conducting interviews - to the locals' displeasure. He finds out that Candice had undergone hypnotic regression therapy during which she found out that, in a past life, she was Marilyn Monroe. As his investigation deepens, an invisible bond forms between Rousseau and Candice, turning into an improbable love story.

Hustache-Mathieu says he wants to mix the traditional detective story genre with a provincial melodrama. 'I believe cinema is the best way to tell a surreal story in the most realistic way, and film stars like Marilyn never really die,' he says.
Isabelle Madelaine's Paris-based Dharamsala is producing the project.