The Festival of Three Continents is an annual film festival dedicated to the screening of films from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Alongside the festival, a co-production incubator workshop is held to support the development of emerging filmmakers from those regions. Produire au Sud began as a side event but has, in recent years, become central to the Festival’s identity. Each year since 2000, six to eight producer-director teams from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America have been selected to develop their projects under the guidance of European cinema professionals. The teams participate in training sessions on the strategies and mechanisms of international coproduction, including sessions on scriptwriting, distribution, pitching, and postproduction. While other European programs tend to favour residences or market formats, the emphasis on education and training makes the Nantes program unique. Through a combination of individual and collective sessions, the teams are equipped with the skills to refine their projects and package them for the international market.
Produire au Sud is a place where all of the traditional stakes of the film world are at play, most notably the quest to establish the correct balance between affirming one’s artistic vision and conforming to the demands of the market – a tension which is perhaps even more pronounced in a cross-cultural context. Over the course of a week, participants negotiate these issues and are also encouraged to consider specific contemporary challenges, such as the impact of the digital revolution of the production-distribution-exhibition film chain and the power structures that shape globally-dispersed production. Beyond equipping participants with these specific industry-related skills, Produire au Sud is also a site of exchange. Intercultural dialogue between participants and experts from different continents and countries is a feature of the week, but ‘exchange’ is also to be understood in terms of the interaction between different aspects of the film industry, as well as in terms of inter-generational exchange, where young director-producer teams benefit from the experience of senior experts. The term « co-production », which is at the heart of Produire au Sud, thus assumes rich and varied meanings.
In an effort to better understand these exchanges and to build a productive dialogue between the production sector and the university sector, an innovative research initiative has been established. The Scholar in Residence programme, which was inaugurated in 2017, is a partnership between Produire au Sud/Festival of 3 Continents, the Centre for National Identities and Interculturality Studies (CRINI) at the University of Nantes and the Co-production Research Network (CoRN). Each year, an academic is invited to attend Produire au Sud and to observe and interview participants. Produire au Sud opens its door to academic investigation, as a means to reflect on its continually evolving practice and pedagogical approach. Academics will find in this experience a rich exploratory field, a rare level of access to insider’s knowledge and personal dialogues with films professionals. Issues at play at Produire au Sud are extremely diverse, from film industry and co-production issues, to questions of intercultural relations and storytelling. Accordingly, the Scholar in Residence program is open to academics from all fields, such as film and media studies, sociology, anthropology, geography and philosophy.
The aim in providing this unprecedented experience for researchers is three-fold:
- to facilitate and promote dialogue between stakeholders from different professional worlds – film industry practitioners and scholars – such that new insights might emerge with the potential to benefit both sectors;
- to shed light on the cultural, economic, political, and human issues that arise during the workshop in order to create a unique Produire au Sud knowledge bank and indeed to inform the design of future workshops;
- for the participants, it is an occasion to bear witness to their own experience – the complexities of co-producing with Europe – in order that their peers in their countries of origin may also benefit and learn from their experience and advice.
2019 Program Description
Each year via this website, applications are solicited from the scholarly community. Applicants from all disciplines, notably Film and Media Studies, Area Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Business Studies, etc. are invited to present a research proposal of their own devising, which may touch upon a variety of topics including, but not limited to:
- The practice of international co-production
- Film support mechanisms
- New technologies and the evolution of the global film industry
- Cooperation between different film professions (director, producer, distributor, production and post-production personnel…)
- Global narratives and cross-cultural storytelling
- Intercultural working relations (business cultures, cross-cultural communications, language and translation)
- Training and education studies
Organisation of the Residency
The duration of the residency correlates to the duration of Produire au Sud workshop (which is slightly shorter than the Festival of Three Continents). Food and accommodation won’t be provided for the scholar for the duration of the residency. Transport to and from Nantes will be at the scholar’s own expense too.
Research activities during Produire au Sud include attendance at collective sessions and some individual sessions, as well as individual interview time with the participants, subject to standard ethics clearance procedures.
The scholar will give at least one lecture at the Maison de la Recherche of the University of Nantes. The audience may consist of Produire au Sud participants, University of Nantes scholars, and invited guests from the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study Foundation (IEA).
Upon completion of the residency, the scholar will present two reports:
Confidential feedback on his/her experience for the Selection Committee (1,000-1,500 words within mutually agreed time-frame.
An essay using data gathered during his/her stay in Nantes (approx. 3,000 words). This essay will be made available on the Produire au Sud website, in order to create the Produire au Sud Knowledge Bank.
In response to the call for expressions of interest, candidates are to provide a 1,000-word research proposal, indicating how and why Produire au Sud would be a fruitful field of investigation. This should be accompanied by a full Curriculum Vitae. Applicants must be fluent in English as this is the working language of the workshop.
The Selection Committee is Chaired by the Executive Director of the Produire au Sud workshop and comprised of representatives from the Festival des Trois Continents, the University of Nantes and the Co-production Research Network (CoRN).
Scholar in Residence 2019
Carine Bernasconi has been named as the 2019 Scholar in Residence.
Carine Bernasconi (Ph.D., University of Lausanne) wrote her thesis in film theory with a focus on the problematic of non-Western cinemas in Europe; her research was about how Iranian cinema has been discussed, released and produced in France. Beside several articles and lectures on Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Jafar Panahi, Mehran Tamadon, she challenged topics such as the theories of representation in Iran, exotism in Iranian cinema or the digital in Iran. In 2019 she studied one semester in the University of Tehran.
In parallel of her academic career, she worked more than 15 years in cinema where she developed an expertise on the circulation of films: she worked as programmer, editor and moderator in film festivals such as Locarno (2004-2014), Visions du réel (2005-2009) and Cinéma du réel (2009-2019). She was a member of reading committee for feature film projects in Arte France Cinéma (2012-2016).
During past years, she organized several panels on the Iranian and Chinese cinemas (Centre Pompidou); the use of archives in documentary (Forum des Images); translation and subtitles (Visions du réel), Taiwanese documentary cinema (studio Luxembourg-Accatone). In 2017, she curated a retrospective of international documentaries in the Iranian Cinéma Vérité Film Festival in Tehran.
Currently she’s teaching film theory at the University of Lausanne; her actual fields of research are post-colonial studies and French cinema. Her thesis will be published in French and Persian in 2020.
Field survey 2019: Carine Bernasconi proposal
“The Festival des 3 Continents plays an important role in my Ph.D. work since historically (from his beginnings at the end of the 1970’s) Nantes is a major place for the release of non-western cinemas, including Iranian cinema, and also their discursive construction which contributes to strengthen their presence and their recognition in France and abroad After working a lot on the competitions and the retrospectives of the festival, I would like now to concentrate on Produire au Sud in order to carry on my research on how French initiatives help the emergence of foreign cinemas. In practice, I would like to study how the possibility of an international coproduction can inform the selected projects and how the directors and producers can fulfill the expectations of potentials co-producers. “
For further information
Please write to : Guillaume Mainguet