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Craft technicians who stand out

A look at some of France's best

From hair stylists to d.p.s, France’s best craft technicians stand out from the pack.

Eric Gautier, cinematographer
A Cannes regular who has worked with a roll call of French directors such as Olivier Assayas, Claude Berri, Alain Resnais and Patrice Chereau, Gautier is equally at ease on international productions, earning critical plaudits recently for his work on Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild.” The great outdoors also inspired him on Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries,” for which he won a Spirit Award.

Anne Seibel, artistic director
Seibel stumbled into the movie biz fresh out of architecture school when her English skills landed her a job as a set decorator on the James Bond film “A View to a Kill.” Today, she shifts effortlessly from period fare such as “Marie Antoinette” to “Rush Hour 3” and her latest pic, “GI Joe,” shooting in the Czech Republic until June and then in France. “Making Prague stand in for Paris is a challenge — the buildings don’t have shutters on the windows, and in Paris there are so many things in the streets, cafes, half-terraces, awnings, water fountains.”

Philippe Turlure, set decorator
Best known for his period sets, Turlure has worked with some of cinema’s greatest talents — David Lean, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Louis Malle, Alan Parker — in a career dating back to “Last Tango in Paris,” when he was just 23. Working with English-speaking directors has also taken him all over the world — he spent nine months in Argentina on “Evita.”
“I enjoy working with the English, I like their openness,” says this self-confessed anglophile.

Veronique Melery, set decorator
Melery’s big break in international moviemaking came with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Warner Bros.-backed epic “A Very Long Engagement.” She has since displayed her talents in such films as “Marie Antoinette” and the actioner “Hitman,” and most recently working on Edward Zwick’s “Defiance.” Stephen Frears’ “Cheri” is next up. “The organization of an English-language film shoot isn’t the same as on a French film,” Melery says. “To do both, you have to like working different ways. I find it fascinating.”

Rachel Aboulkheir, hair and makeup
When she isn’t styling hair for Paris fashion shows, Aboulkheir finds time for foreign-film shoots, counting “Marie Antoinette” among her credits. “Making the wigs was a lot of fun. Kirsten Dunst even had boats in her hair,” the stylist recalls. She’s also that rarity in France, an English-speaking hair and makeup artist. She will next tweak the locks of Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates on the shoot of Stephen Frears’ “Cheri.”

Rapahel Benoliel, line producer
At 33, Benoliel is one of the most-sought-after line producers on major English-language film shoots in France. Benoliel began in the biz as a runner on advertising shoots, working his way up until he got his first break in movies as unit manager on Neil Jordan’s “The Good Thief.” Recent credits include “Wimbledon,” “Love Actually,” “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” and “A Mighty Heart.” He’s currently working on Stephen Frears’ Collette adaptation “Cheri,” due to begin lensing in Biarritz April 7.

John Bernard, line producer
A Brit who knows France like the back of his hand, Monaco-based Bernard has been line producing films in Gaul for the past 30 years, dating back to his first experience on the Norman Rosemont production “Les Miserables.” Recent credits include “The Happening,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” Upcoming projects include Sony Pictures’ “Julie and Julia” and Paramount’s “GI Joe,” which will shoot in France in June and July.

Claude Kunetz, line producer
In between producing films that fit in with his arthouse tastes, with talent from all over the world, Kunetz also makes himself useful line producing for foreign filmmakers in Paris. His credits range from a Russian TV series to the recent “Lost in Love,” an Indonesian film shot entirely in Paris. Says Kunetz: “I love the mix of cultures that is involved in working with foreign filmmakers and talent.”

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