Publishing house to launch book pitching event Shoot the Book at Cannes.

 French publishing house Gallimard has launched a drive to ramp up its adaptation rights business both at home and abroad.

“We’re already very active but we want to becoming even more proactive in terms of presenting our catalogue to producers,” said Frédérique Massart, director of Gallimard’s audiovisual department, told ScreenDaily.

Recent adaptations from the Gallimard catalogue include Norwegian Joachim’s Trier’s Oslo, August 31st, based on Drieu La Rochelle’s tale of an ex-junkie Feu Follet, and Korean Bong Joon Ho’s post-apocalyptic ice age tale Snowpiercer, which was adapted from Jean-Marc Rochette and Benjamin Legrand’s graphic novel Transperceneige, originally published by Gallimard subsidiary Castermann.

As part of the drive the company and its subsidiary labels Mercure, Castermann, Futuropolis and Flammarion were out in force at Ile de France Film Commission’s Location Expo in Paris on Thursday with a new pitching event, called One Book, One Place, revolving around works set in a specific, real-life location.

The publisher will join forces with the commission again alongside the Society of French Language Publishers (SCELF) at the Cannes Film Festival in May for a new pitching session called Shoot the Book aimed at international producers.

“It will consist of English-language pitches on a series of works selected by professional jury. The publishers have already submitted potential works and we’re in the process of making the final selection,” Massart said.

SCELF already organises an annual adaptation rights market during the Paris Salon du Livre every March, attended by some 200, mainly French, producers. This year’s edition will take place on March 21.

“International producers are welcome at the Salon du Livre event but very few make it… we thought it would make more sense to seek out the producers at Cannes,” said Massart.

At Thursday’s One Book, One Place event Gallimard presented 12 recent and upcoming books it felt had strong adaptation potential.

Each literary work was presented by the writer or publisher in a 10-minute pitch followed by a brief presentation by the agency responsible for handling shooting permits at the book’s location.

“Producers can sometimes be put off by books set in a specific location because they think it will be a headache to get the permits,” said Massart. “The idea was to show off these works and also show that it was possible to shoot in the places where they were set.”

Oliviers Bleys’ presentation of his period thriller La Fantome de La Tour Eiffel, revolving around two young engineers who discover a dastardly plot to destroy Gustave Eiffel’s project for his now famous tower, was followed, for example, by a brief talk by the world famous monument’s shooting office.

“When I write I visualise the scenes in a very cinematic way,” commented Bleys. “Events likes this are great because all too often producers focus on bestsellers which can be rather shallow when there is a wealth of other literary works out there.”

Other titles pitched on Thursday included Ingrid Astier’s Seine-set thriller Quai Des Enfers, Jean Michel Riou’s historic trilogy Versailles Le Palais de Toutes Les Promesses, and Etienne Davodeau’s Le Chien Qui Louche, about a Louvre security guard who secretly hangs paintings by amateur artists alongside works by the great masters.

Davodeau’s previous graphic novel Lulu in Nude – a tragicomic tale about a fortysomething woman who goes on the run from her humdrum life — was recently adapted by Solveig Anspach with Karin Viard in the titular role. The film hit screens in France on January 22.

“Producers are showing increasing interest in graphic novels for adults…  I get the sense they’re taking them more seriously,” Davodeau told Screendaily.

Other recent French graphic novel adaptations include Adele: Chapters 1 & 2 (aka Blue is the Warmest Colour), loosely adapted from a comic book by Julie Maroh; Bertrand Tavernier’s recent political satire Quai D’Orsay, based on series of works by Christophe Blain and former diplomat Abel Lanzac, and Korean Bong Joon Ho’s post-apocalyptic ice age tale Snowpiercer.

“Having an event like this which acts as bridge between the literary and cinema worlds really helps,” commented Davodeau.

The Ile de France Film Commission’s Location Expo continues on Friday (March 14) at the Cité de la Mode et du Design.