Accessible art is something of a Michel Gondry specialty.
So it makes sense that his Paris-based Amateur Film Factory, which allows ordinary folks to write, cast and shoot their own films on Factory sets and walk out with a DVD of their works, is hitting the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers with the help of the Ile de France Film Commission.
Initiative also has the support of French comic-thesp Jamel Debbouze (“Outside the Law”), whose standup program, Jamel Comedy Club, has already drawn a spotlight on many young talents from underprivileged areas.
Program was unveiled at Cannes last week, when Gondry was president of Cinefondation and Short Films jury.
He said he was excited to bring the Amateur Film Factory to communities that often “suffer from a cultural isolation.”
“This could be a cultural revolution,” said Debbouze in Cannes, adding that the project has the potential to make art accessible to young folks from different backgrounds and help them break social barriers, and possibly bring some diversity to the French film industry.
“This project gives the Aubervilliers youth the opportunity to express themselves and learn about filmmaking, and also gives them a chance to meet each other and freely work together,” said Safia Lebdi, prexy of the Ile de France Film Commission. “Our goal is to create a cluster of creation in Aubervilliers.”
The initiative ran Feb. 16-March 28 at the Pompidou Center in Paris and drew more than 4,500 who created 311 films.
Lebdi said the Factory will likely be brought to other French regions, notably Marseilles and Lille.