Filmmaker Claire Simon’s transmedia exploration of Paris’ Gare du Nord station was one of 29 projects presented at Cross Video Days this week.
Paris production house Les Films d’ici has launched an ambitious transmedia project revolving around Europe’s biggest train station, the Gare du Nord in Paris.
The project, devised and directed by France-based director Claire Simon [pictured], will include a feature film, interactive website, documentary and theatre play.
The interactive website was one of 29 projects pitched at the transmedia event Cross Video Days in Paris earlier this week.
The feature element of Simon’s Gare du Nord project, produced by Les Films d’ici’s Richard Copans in association with co-producer France 3 Cinema, has just wrapped after a eight-week shoot and is in post-production.
French distributor Sophie Dulac will distribute the film domestically and also handle international sales. It is scheduled for release in the first half of next year.
Laurent Duret, who oversees web content at Les Films d’ici’s fledgling sister company Les Films d’ici 2, is producing the website.
Launched earlier this year, the new outfit was set up to expand 30-year-old Les Films d’ici’s documentary-focused activities into more feature films, TV series and web formats. Gare du Nord is its first big web project.
The Gare du Nord feature stars Nicole Garcia as a woman suffering from cancer who passes through the station every day as she heads for treatment at a nearby hospital. On route, she comes into contact with a series of different characters.
Like many of Simon’s previous works, such as her 2008 mockumentary God’s Offices (Les bureaux des dieu), the project blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. The professional cast is flanked by people playing themselves as well as amateur actors in fictional roles. Simon spent weeks exploring the station and documenting the real-life characters to be found there.
“You never quite know who is playing a role or who is being themselves in front of the camera,” says Duret.
The interactive website will take the form of a virtual Gare du Nord station through which users can navigate their path, clicking on characters they encounter along the way.
Duret was at Cross Video Days to looking for partners and finance for the site.
“The website will go live a few weeks before the film is released to create a buzz and the play will be performed at around the same time as the release,” says Duret. “The documentary will be screened shortly afterwards.”
Other projects pitched at the two-day Cross Video Days event included Lookin4Galt, exploring the legacy of Broadway legend Galt MacDermot within the Hip Hop scene; German Voland Films’ web series Expats Berlin and Clockwork Watch, an on-going, self-propagating project encompassing live events, graphic novels, a participative website and feature from Yomi Aveni of London-based Articipate Media.
Lookin4Galt is the latest project from Mathieu Rochet and Nicolas Venancio, whose debut Hip Hop-focused 2010 web documentary a New York Minute clocked-up more than one million hits, half of them in the United States.
The new project, produced by Marseille-based music producer Julien Berlioz of Full Rhizome, comprises a core documentary; two web-series, Think B.I.G. and Talkin All That Jazz, featuring interviews with key Hip Hop figures; mix tapes and a series of live concerts.
The documentary is due to premiered this autumn on video-sharing site Dailymotion in 27 territories, including the United States, Britain, Russia and France.
Alongside the pitching sessions, Cross Video Days also hosted a workshop by British, Amsterdam-based producer Ian Ginn on his transmedia sci-fi thriller Saliga-7, which attracted more than 55,000 online views in the Netherlands last summer, as well as a series of conferences on developments in the interactive TV field.