A member of France’s 50/50 Collective and a lecturer at the University of California’s Paris campus, Brey will write and direct the upcoming film, weaving the central concern of her book – a long essay interrogating representations of female bodies and perspectives throughout film history – into a more personal onscreen exploration.
“The book has a more theoretical background to it, and can be seen as more specific or dense,” Brey tells Variety. “I want the documentary to touch a broader audience.”
The creative doc will mix first-person voiceover and newly shot footage alongside interviews and archival clips as it seeks to examine the subject in a more tactile and interactive way, assuming the broad outline of a coming-of-age tale that recounts the director’s own experience growing up surrounded by the male gaze.
“The idea is to mix the personal with the historical with the theoretical,” Brey explains. “To link people from the past and present alongside sequences that I would film myself depicting things I’ve never seen onscreen.”
Brey adds: “I would love for a very large audience to feel like the documentary is also speaking to them… [because] the ways that women have been shown and displayed onscreen have had immense cultural and personal impacts on all of our lives.”
Currently in pre-production and looking to shoot later on this year, the project marks a new step forward for the Paris-based Totem Films, which launched in 2019 and moved into co-production last year.
Other films in their sales docket include Alice Diop’s doc “We,” Fanny Liatard and Jeremy Trouilh’s Cannes-selected “Gagarine,” and the upcoming drama “Softie” from award-winning director Samuel Theis.
Pictured: Iris Brey (far right) with fellow jury members Jeanne Lapoirie, Ursula Meier and Marie Amachoukeli at a photo call for the Camera d’or jury at the 71st Cannes Film Festival in 2018. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)