Forum brings together film, publishing

MONACO Alan Parker, Christopher Hampton, Marjane Satrapi and Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano brought some international cachet to the seventh Intl. Cinema and Literature Forum in Monaco March 6-8.

But despite the presence of high-profile foreign players such as Japanese animation giant Toei, this year’s event revolved mostly around putting together French publishers and producers.

That’s a tougher task than it might seem.

Despite the critical and commercial success of literary adaptations such as Guillaume Canet’s “Tell No One,” or “Persepolis,” the cliquey Parisian publishing and filmmaking milieus barely intersect.

While some larger publishers and film companies opted out, major publishers Albin Michel and Actes Sud were there, and a plethora of smaller houses, such as the edgy indie label Au Diable Vauvert, which along with a strong contingent of graphic book publishers like Dargaud Dupuis and Casterman kept attendees’ agendas full.

Independent producer Francois Kraus, of Les Films du Kiosque says, “For me it has been extremely useful to come here and take meetings with 15 publishing houses in three days. I’ve discovered three books I’m interested in.”

Kraus’ shingle, which produced Florent Siri’s Algeria War actioner “Intimate Enemies,” already has three literary adaptations in the works including a bigscreen version of writer-helmer Virginie Despentes latest novel “Teen Spirit.”

Cyril Hauguel of LGM, the indie producer of Olivier Marchal’s “36″ and just- released “MR73″ also found the confab worth the trip.

“In Paris publishers send us information but it’s not the same as having face to face contact. Here they are really pitching to us.”

The forum, organized by husband-and-wife team Claire Breuvart and Hans-Stephan Kreidel with support from the principality of Monaco, claims to be directly at the origin of at least three adaptations, including Guillaume Musso’s “Et apres” brought to the big-screen by Gilles Bourdos, and Frederic Schendoerffer’s film version of “Le Serment des limbes,” by Jean-Christophe Grange.

Grange presided over one of the forum’s juries this year, as did author Didier Van Cauwelaert, who has two best-selling books in development with U.S. studios: “The Gospel According the Jimmy” at Fox and “Out of My Head” (co-written with Mark Polizzotti) with Warner Bros.

Among the international players, Toei was there both to pitch its properties — the company has an animated feature version of its hit Marie Antoinette manga “La Rose de Versailles” in the works, for which it is seeking co-producers — and also to scout for material that could be adapted for the Asian market.

“People are surprised to see us here,” says Kanji Kazahaya, director of Toei’s international department. But having opened offices in Paris to develop its licensing and merchandising activities a couple of years back, he says, “We are keen to take our presence in Europe to the next level.”

Books weren’t the only things being pitched this year — some 10 regional film bodies were invited to broaden the appeal of the forum.

“We’d like producers to find everything here at the forum, books they can adapt, locations to film in and funds that can help them finance their projects,” Breuvard says.

Even the Western Norway Film Commission showed up, fresh from its success with “The Golden Compass” — Bergen’s wharf was 3-D modelled for the film — to tout the accessibility of its fjords.

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