“You Were Never Really Here”
When offered a doctoral position at Cornell, Attab noticed that she was a good five years younger than her colleagues and figured she might as well take a risk. “I said to myself, ‘I’ll return to France and try to find work in cinema, and if it doesn’t work out I can always come back!’” She hasn’t yet.
In 2002, she went from studying comparative literature to reading 500 scripts a year, eventually heading up acquisitions at Wild Bunch. After a whirlwind tour of festivals and markets Attab moved towards production.
She began at Serenity Films in 2007, where she developed such broadly comedic hits as “The Tuche,” before joining auteur-driven Why Not Prods. as head of development. At Why Not, she’s collaborated with Cristian Mungiu, Arnaud Desplechin and Jacques Audiard.
That’s been a dream come true for the film buff. “I wasn’t born into it,” Attab says. “It was a lucky break to be welcomed and nurtured by film families, considering how closed off the French film industry remains.”
Her most recent project, Lynne Ramsay’s literary adaptation “You Were Never Really Here” premiering in Cannes competition, marks her first full-on producing credit. But she notes, “producing requires both strong personal conviction and even stronger teamwork.”
As she develops an international slate, Attab remains a risk-taker. “We are challenged everyday by changes in the cinema landscape and the innovation in television. It’s time to be daring. There’s such an appetite for new faces and strong voices, just look at the emergence of Yann Demange, Julia Ducournau and Barry Jenkins.”
– Ben Croll
Inspirations: “Spartacus,” Leos Carax’s “Mauvais Sang” and “I watch ‘Jaws’ at least once a year.”