Parabole flocks to Bible slate

Company looking for producers for 12 pics

CANNES — French production company Parabole is looking to assemble a consortium of European producers to co-produce an ambitious slate of 12 pics derived from the collection of 42 Bible stories, known as the Parables.

Parabole producers Hugues Desmichelle, Claire Jeanteur and Emmanuel Benbihy set the company up two years ago with the idea of persuading 12 different international directors to lense pics for the collection.

Desmichelle, who has four features and more than 50 short films under his production belt, says that of the top name directors to have been contacted, over a dozen have expressed interest, including Brit Mike Leigh, Iran’s Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Romanian Lucian Pintilie, Swedish helmer Liv Ullmann, Canada’s Atom Egoyan and Arturo Ripstein of Mexico. Parabole has not yet approached any U.S. or French directors.

The Parabole team are in Cannes talking to potential production partners and aim to have the first pic in pre-production within six months. Production partners will become part of the project-driven Parabole Europe, with the various companies jointly developing, casting and financing.

According to Jeanteur, Parabole is looking for co-prod partners who will come in on three films at a time. The 12-pic collection is due to be completed over six years.

“We can’t put budgets on the projects because it really depends how the director wants to approach the story,” notes Desmichelle, adding that the project is not a religious crusade designed for a Bible-bashing audience.

“The Parables were ways of communicating simply, practically our equivalent of sitcoms,” says Benbihy. “They have messages but the directors might decide to shoot a comedy, an action-adventure or even a science fiction film, which is why it’s difficult to put budgets on the projects.”