Knightworks Backs Fantasy Pic, “The Duchess

Joseph Morder pic supported by innovative post-production fund

A new Paris-based post-production fund (PPF) set up in 2013, involving four partners, is backing the fantasy feature film, “The Duchess of Warsaw,” directed by Joseph Morder, and produced by Celine Maugis, via La Vie est Belle Films.

The project, that combines live-action and VFX, has been in development since 2010 – when it received a grant from the Ile de France production fund.

The VFX work to be provided by the PPF on this project, will be undertaken by Knightworks, a company founded in 2009, that specializes in CGI, film production and communications strategy. Another PPF partner, “Les machineurs,” will be the key actor in the final post-production (color grading & DCP).

Knightworks provided CGI work on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s feature film “The Dance of Reality,” selected for Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2013; it also co-produced the short,  “The Voice Thief,” helmed by his son, Adan Jodorowsky.

“Duchess” tells the story of a 30-year old painter, Valentin, locked in his own imagination, in a nightmarish Paris-set dream world. The producers describe the project as an “ode to fantasy and cinema.”

64-year old French-Polish helmer, Joseph Morder, whose credits include 2005’s “El Cantor,” has directed two dozen shorts and unconventional docs that have been shown in top festivals, such as Berlin and Locarno.

His previous project, “I’d Like to Share the Spring with Someone” (2007), was entirely shot on a mobile phone.

“Duchess” – that stars Andy Gillet and Alexandra Stewart – has a daring visual style, including painted backdrops and cardboard characters.

The Ile de France film production fund provided a €404,000 ($553,076) grant in 2010. Project’s other financiers include: Sofica Manon 3, La Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, the Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah, Procirep, the CNC, private co-producers and a new initiative: the Post-Production Fund (PPF).

The PPF involves four production services companies – Knightworks, Les Machineurs, AOC and Creative Sound – that offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ post-production service provider.

The venture works as a fund because it is willing to negotiate a deferment of part of the post-production fees in return for a production credit and a share in the film’s earnings.

For PPF to board a project, it must be a feature film, whose production/shooting finance has already been secured, with a French distributor or international sales agent in place.

Olivier-Rene Veillon exec director of the Ile-de-France Film Commission, stated: “As the promoter of Paris FX, we welcome this remarkable initiative of the four founding partners of the Post-Prod-Fund partnership that aims to facilitate access to French excellence in the digital domain.”

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