Location Expo’s ‘One Book, One Place’

‘Ernest and Celestine’ publisher Gallimard presents a literary pitching session in Paris

An innovative French literary pitching session, One Book, One Place, proved a highlight on the first day of business at the 4th Ile de France Location Expo, one of Europe’s largest location shows.

It look set to anticipate a larger event, Shoot the Book, another page-to-screen pitching-come-networking session, this time at May’s Cannes Festival.

One Book, One Place was organized in partnership with the Gallimard Group, France’s biggest independent publishing house, which incorporates Les Editions Gallimard, Flammarion, Mercure de France, Verticales, Casterman and Futuropolis.

Notwithstanding France’s strong auteur tradition, based on directors writing highly personal scripts, literary adaptations of French novels continue to be in high demand — both amongst French filmmakers and foreign directing.

Seeking to meet this demand, the Gallimard group had developed a groundbreaking — for France — “speed dating” concept, designed to introduce literary authors to producers, directors and screenwriters.

Hundreds of Gallimard titles have hit the big screen. Rights managed by the group include the works of venerable French literary giants Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir.

But Academy Award-nominated animation pic “Ernest and Celestine and Solveig Anspach’s “Lulu In the Nude” are equally Gallimard title adaptations.

Gallimard has helped organize similar pitching sessions at France’s Salon du Livre over the last five years.

One third of Gallimard’s business is conducted outside France. Foreign helmers who have adapted the group’s titles include South Korean director, Bong Joon-ho, who based his“Snow Piercer” on French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” and Norwegian director Joaquim Trier, whose “Oslo, August 31” made over “Le Feu Follet,” by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, which also inspired a Louis Malle film.

At Thursday’s Location Expo, 12 authors briefly tub-thumped their books; the audience including scriptwriters and producers. Each title was chosen because of its direct link to a specific location in France.

Location specialists – including Paris Police Commissioner Sylvie Barnaud and Paris Film Office’s Sophie Boudon Vanhille  – also talked through key film shoot logistics.

Eight One Book novels unspool in Paris’ Ile de France region, riffing off iconic landmarks – Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Louvre, for instance. – Other projects take place in the Rhone-Alps, Nord-Pas Calais, the Cote d’Azur.

The novels deliver a fresh perspective on the chosen locations, per Gallimard audiovisual rights director, Frederique Massart.

One example: Some offer a behind-the-scenes view of key sites in Paris – including the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Maylis de Kerangal’s “Reparer les Vivants” and the Louvre in Etienne Davodeau’s “Le Chien qui louche.” Latter explores in a satirical vein the Louvre’s gatekeepers, set against a scam to enable a mediocre painting to be shown in the museum.

Among other highlights, Ingrid Astier pitched her debut novel, “Quai des Enfers,” winner of the Societe des Gens de Lettres’ prestigious Paul Feval Prize. She explained the painstaking three-year research process for this crime thriller, including taking photos and sound recordings along the River Seine.

Astier is a fan of Westerns and action thrillers. One of her prime inspirations for writing “Quai des Enfers” was Guy Ritchie’s “Snatch”, starring Brad Pitt, she confessed.

“I try to write very visually and present authentic characters based on true life observation,” the author explained to Variety. “

In this, my first novel, I tried to capture the reality of life along the River Seine – policemen, lovers, fishermen, joggers, passers-by, even people who try to commit suicide in the river.”

The One Book, One Place session saw a high audience participation. Olivier-Rene Veillon, exec director of the Ile de France Film Commission, considered it a resounding success.

This year’s Location Expo has doubled the exhibition space available in previous years and generated a record level of participants.

The Ile de France Location Expo runs Feb 13-14.

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