Fils de Garches - Un film de Rémi Gendarme
Support Rémi Gendarme's first feature-length documentary, road movie, and historical drama shot at wheelchair level.
Fils de Garches - Un film de Rémi Gendarme
The Film in a Nutshell
In the 1980s, when people would look at me, they would often think, “That cute, handicapped kid won’t live for long.” And so, I was shuffled off to the city of Garches. There, they’d fix you up, repair you. They’d straighten you out, and it was hard. There, nearly all the medical staff would hurt us for our own good.
How the Project Began
“Whenever I hear the word hospital today, I see myself at age six, naked, a tube up my nose, puking, fresh out of an operation. A surgery that I then sensed was useless, and which, today, I am certain was.”
That was how the first lines started. At twenty, I was beginning to write my memoirs. At that age, I was studying mathematics at the highest level possible. I was living in Bordeaux and the university was chockfull of obstacles for me.
And so, one day, my friend Thomas lent me his camcorder and we shot some footage: staircases everywhere, elevators out of service, everything that for years had hampered my career as a mathematics student. I took a week off, and I discovered this tool, this iMovie, for making birthday videos. It was incredible! An insignificant first step framed by the pictures that I knew: meaning, insignificant.
But I loved it. Placing pictures as words to say stuff… and then do stuff. To have arms that are more effective than anybody else’s. My mind was made up, I was going to switch studies.
From infancy, my physical handicap has rendered me heavily dependent. What can I say about it? Nothing really, except that it was in making films that I chose to appropriate for myself certain images that are generally imposed on us and that wind up defining us.
As a child, I was sent to a hospital in the Paris suburbs. A gigantic, gloomy, ancient thing where people would hurt me and scare me. It was in the town of Garches. I realize today that the place was one of the few hospitals with the medical knowhow that would allow me to live and grow up. But still… it was hard.
And also, there had always been other children with the same handicap that I had known at Garches. I didn’t know any of them, but in 2006 while I was beginning my new course of studies, I kept telling myself that resolution might come from going to Garches to make a movie. I had to return to the place and look up the kids that I had barely crossed paths with. All the buildings of this hospital are now on the historic register, and all those children have all grown up. They live with their situation of being severely handicapped persons. They are doctoral students, engineers, or simply enjoying life. They too remember Garches very well.
In this film, my character voyages and sets out to meet a certain number of those childhood acquaintances. My aim is to compare memories, but not only that. Using their experiences in Garches as a springboard, I want to see how they now approach life in a society where handicaps remain a thorny issue. And lastly, I wish to go back to Garches, perhaps take certain people there…
A Word from the Production Company
All filmmakers have, among their projects, one film that they obsess over, and that they sometimes take much time to make because the right conditions must align in order to give birth to it. Either for the ambition surrounding it, or for the intimate obstacles linked to it, or for both. The idea for this particular film began to germinate in Rémi’s mind when he was still a teenager, and he hadn’t dared to think he could make films. Today at age 34, it will be his first feature-length film. It both synthesizes and hurtles him beyond his set target.
When Rémi approached us in 2013, he came primarily seeking advice on how to produce this big project. Unlike his previous films, he could not envision carrying this one out alone. Over and above feeling an absolute need to produce his film, we were completely smitten by his story and his manner of recounting it. Rapidly, we offered to produce Rémi’s film and decided together to make a film for a wide audience with a theater release. Indeed, as this is a movie for theaters, it will require the adequate equipment and crew to match its ambition.
It will cost in the neighborhood of €600,000 to make this movie. A substantial budget for a documentary movie, but necessary given this project’s ambitions, considerably spread out in time.
Aside from the long writing phase and preparation which began in 2013, since the summer of 2017, we have been alternating shooting and edition sessions. This pace might appear as a luxury but is totally necessary and intrinsic to the project.
With the preparation already done, we have been able to persuade France’s Centre National du Cinéma (CNC) to grant us its support. The funds are a great help, but we currently need even more support to reach our budget goal. Presently, we are busy contacting potential distributors and foundations, but there, also, we are facing a huge task.
Rémi Gendarme is the craftsman of a rich and unique body of work that defies any labeling, and is regularly lauded at festivals. These films are both encounters and dives into another world, the world of filmmaker Rémi and of handicapped Rémi. They displace our gaze both literally and figuratively. Movies seen from within, audacious, prying us out of our prejudices and our discomfort. One does not come away from them unaltered. His film direction is a challenge that combines mischievousness, autobiography, and poetry. Below is a list of just some of his films.
2016 – Le Désir – 15 minutes – Distributor: The Kingdom. Selected in international competition at the Entrevues de Belfort and at the Traces de Vies de Clermont Ferrand festival.
2013 - Cinéma- carte postal #1 – 13 minutes. Selected in the Rencontres du Cinéma documentaire de Montreuil.
2012 – Une Affaire de Décor – 80 minutes – Ed. La Famille Digitale. Made within the framework of the M2 Créadoc of the city of Poitiers.
Awards: best first film at the Corsica.doc/Viastella festival, 2013 (Ajaccio)
Best case study film at the Traces de Vie festival, 2013 (Clermont-Ferrand)
Selected at the Festival du Film International de La Rochelle, 2014
2012 – Riolette Autopsie – 21 minutes – Ed. La Famille Digitale
Audience’s award at the Silence, On Court ! festival (Paris). Selected at FIDé.
The Film Crew
The combined financial aid that we have received for the preparatory stage of the film has allowed us to set up a solid artistic and technical team to assist the director. The team includes an assistant director, a lead cameraman, a sound engineer, and a film editor. Since 2015, this team has accompanied him to the town of Garches and to the homes of former fellow childhood patients for location scouting. Presently, the crewmembers are busy shooting footage all around France. This lengthy stage has allowed us to familiarize the women and men in this film with the film crewmembers, and thus create a relationship of trust propitious to revelations and admissions, peppered throughout the film.
The Production Companies
THE KINGDOM was established in 2012 by Marie Odile Gazin, whose credits include L’Exil et le Royaume (the Venice Film Festival) and Le Plein Pays. In 2013, Julie Nguyen Van Qui joined the company, and developed her first productions, one of which is this film, Fils de Garches (Fixed Kids). The Kingdom has no predefined editorial line. Are decisions are driven by the dictates of our hearts and by our encounters with filmmakers. Our films circulate in French and international film festivals, movie theaters, and television channels. Our catalog proudly features Vivant ! by Vincent Boujon and Les Messagers by Laëtitia Tura and Hélène Crouzillat.
WAG PROD was set up in 2014 by Yann Legay, after twenty years of work in the post-production sector. Seeing so many projects that never found a producer, and yearning to give the filmmakers that he had met over numerous years artistic and technical assistance, it was obvious that he needed to set up his own production company. WAG produces short films and feature-length movies whether they be fiction or documentary, primarily for cinema.
Allocation of funds
Why Use Crowdfunding?
In our preparatory phase for this film, with help from a fablab and Rémi’s wheelchair manufacturer, Emanuel Rojas, the lead cameraman, experimented with an apparatus that allows Rémi to shoot footage from his wheelchair. Its articulated arm terminates with a pod that holds the camera. An infrared remote control on the wheelchair’s joystick affords the camera stability and optimal ergonomics for recording. Today, this device must be refitted to Rémi’s new wheelchair. We have had to redesign it for his long wanderings in Garches this summer.
This apparatus cannot be funded either with cinema grants, or with handicap organizations, as it does not figure into their standard list of criteria for funding.
Kiss Kiss Bank Bank contributors will help us fund this new device. It is the first stage in our crowdfunding effort. (See details further down.)
Furthermore, the above-mentioned alternating of shooting and editing, and the unusual, fast-paced fabrication process for this unusual film is why we need your help today.
The funding acquired thus far allows us to pay for the shoots but not all the intermediary editing stages. (Generally, film editing is quite simply done at the end of the shooting, and the corresponding funding arrives at that moment).
While we have been able thus far to keep pace with Rémi’s needs and respect his pace in fabrication, we face a looming budgetary shortfall for the shooting in Garches during the summer of 2018.
At last, we will tackle the biggest portion of shooting. But before we do, we will need to sift through all the footage shot so far. It is extremely important for our head film editor, Francine Lemaître, to carry out this task in tandem with Rémi. Ultimately, the aim is to better prepare the final stages of shooting in Garches.
Here, in the second stage (outlined further ahead), your support will help us fund this editing phase so as to secure optimal conditions for the shooting phase.
Crowdfunding as a Production Strategy
Our experience with previous films’ theater releases has shown us the importance of working on commercializing a film and distributing it to theaters from the earliest stages of production. For despite our films’ numerous selections in festivals, we have become aware that this is not sufficient to attract the large audience that the films deserve. Crowdfunding is a highly effective means of communicating about a film before its release. It spurs word-of-mouth communication, and the old grapevine is absolutely key for a documentary’s success in theaters.
Below is an overview of what crowdfunding in addition to other financing can help us accomplish.
FIRST LEVEL: €20,000
Thanks to your help, we can finance manufacturing a new image-stabilizing camera pod adapted to Rémi’s mobility and optimized for shooting footage in Garches. Created in a fablab, this camera pod for the wheelchair will feature remote control operation. The financing covers design, salaries and manufacturing costs, plus frequent travel expenses for the lead cameraman. Best of all, Rémi will be able to keep and continue using this camera pod well after the shooting of Fils de Garches (Fixed Kids), which therefore represents a lasting investment!
SECOND LEVEL: €40,000
Thanks to you, we will finance the intermediary editing period (travel expenditures for our film editor, plus rental fees for an editing room). The filmmaker and the editor may expect minimum compensation. This stage in editing will provide the comfort that the director needs in order to prepare for the planned shooting in Garches.
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Estimated delivery: March 2020
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