From Watchdogs to Dog Guides' journalism
WHY THIS FILM
Year after year, public distrust towards the media increases. Recently, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump seemed to prove wrong all the prognostics of the so-called “Fourth Estate”.
It became urgent, not only to question the work conditions of journalists, but first and foremost to question the narratives they offer and the way they see the world.
Even worse, our way of life and social organisations are threatened by unprecedented civilization challenges. However, with the dumbing down of media coverage, people don’t feel united as part of a same community.
For many professionals, the way journalists talk have destructive impacts on their audience’s morale. For semiology specialist Mariette Darrigrand, the recurring words within the news are even sterile and tend to paralyse action.
Of course, 24-hour rolling news channels, investigation formats or infotainment shows, don’t have much in common… But economic concentration and the conditions in which the news is reported; makes it difficult for journalists to deal with the complexity of the world:globalisation, digital revolution, economic and social mutations, extinction of species, climate change…
Time has come to change the way we ask – and answer – the questions.
This documentary seeks to analyse the reasons behind the public loss of interest in media.
To do so, this film will go on an international road-trip to encounter pioneering people and their attempts to offer a livelier and more responsible journalism, and trying to highlight new perspectives for the future…
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I’ve been working as a freelance journalist for many different newspapers and TV shows (Le Monde, M le Magazine, 1 Hebdo, LCI, Public Sénat…). Specialised in sustainable development, alternative lifestyles and environmental issues; I have published several books on these topics.
My aim as a journalist, is to share information about the environment and citizen alternatives. It has never been easy: climate, ecology, planet Earth,… these topics are too often seen as deterrent. Even today, they almost never have priority.
The idea to investigate these questions emerged 5 years ago. I was accumulating anecdotes and stories of all the hardships encountered by journalists specialised in environment, like me. I wanted to write a book explaining why it’s easier to talk about Nabila or Hanouna (highly mediatised variety shows stars in France) than about climate change; and question our ability to face the truth.
In July 2014, I was interviewing Stéphane Paoli, a radio presenter who used to host the breakfast shows of France Inter, one of the main French radio stations. This journalist is a role model for me, he’s always audacious and tenacious.
That day, he shared with me some memories of his reports, and he started questioning the responsibility of the media. As he often asks: “are we, journalists, still the narrators of the world?”
I was captivated by what he was saying. I realised I couldn’t just write it down, I needed both image and sound, I needed to share the emotion he provoked in me, for people to really understand this profession, for people to understand the key role journalists play in society, but also the way they always call this role into question.
The desire of this film was born.
In 2015, I met the filmmaker Flo Laval. We talked about my idea to make a documentary about the media treatment of my favourite topics. He introduced me to Les Films d’un Jour. This production company was seduced by the project, and together we completed a script.
In the end, the documentary and the associated book will not only deal with ecology within media, but also asks a far deeper question : how do media see the world? How do they shape the way we look at it? If many citizens lost their trust in the media, is it because they are biased? Isn’t it a threat to our Democracies? How could we do differently?
ME, IT'S YOU, US, HUMANITY
In this documentary, we’ll meet journalists trying to change the way they “make the news”, to get closer to their readers. Journalists who see themselves as “mediators”.
By doing so, we’ll try to restore the image of this mistreated profession, which is often perceived as elitist, lying or manipulative.
Finally, we’ll try to understand why media should reinvent themselves in the current world.
This film will not be a film “made by journalists for journalists”, nor will it be a succession of oral accounts. By looking at all the useful initiatives that are making a difference and highlighting new perspectives for the future, we want the film to be a cry from the heart.
To do so, we’ll meet different journalists and media: in France, we’ll meet Datagueule, Le 1, Nice Matin. We’ll follow the adventure of Ebdo from the inside (Ebdo is a magazine which was first published in January 2018, but had to close down only a few weeks later…)
We’ll also go abroad, in the UK, Denmark, Netherlands and the USA.
We plan to finish shooting in September 2018 and to broadcast the film by the end of the year.
THE FILM NARRATIVE
Flo Laval conceives the film as a twofold road trip: "on the one hand, Anne-Sophie takes us away, in Europe and the US, to discover some pioneering initiatives revolutionizing journalism.
On the other hand, Anne-Sophie also invites us to her own personal universe: what do her relatives and friends think of her job, and of the media in general? The film sometimes turns into a “journalist’s diary”.
Three narrative dimensions are present throughout the film:
The questions of journalists. Following Anne-Sophie, we’ll be meeting with journalists and media entrepreneurs who all strive for significant and positive change in their profession.An embodied reflection. Thanks to Anne-Sophie’s experience, we are embedded in a magazine’s life (EBDO), from its enthusiastic launch to doubts and disenchantment. An intimate insight and a personal perspective to the practice of journalism. How did Anne-Sophie build her career these last few years? How did she evolve? Will this road-trip bring any change to her own approach?
In France and abroad, we meet with journalists and media entrepreneurs experimenting new initiatives, reinventing themselves, defining new ways of “making the news”.
Among them: Stéphane Paoli, Eric Fottorino (Le 1), Elise Lucet (Cash Investigation), Luc Hermann (Premières Lignes Production), Fabrice Arfi (Médiapart), Franck Annese (So Press), Marie-Monique Robin (filmmaker, writer), Sylvain Lapoix (Datagueule), Julien Goetz (Datagueule), Walter Bouvais (Terra Eco), Julia Cagé (media economist), Jean-Marie Charon (media sociologist), Ulrik Haagerup (Constructive Institute), Mark Rixe Oxley (The Guardian), Emily Kasriel (BBC), Jodie Jackson (researcher), David Bornstein (SJN), David Boardman (SJN), Jay Rosen (researcher, New York University), Jeanne Bordeau (semiology specialist), and many more...
Anne-Sophie Novel - Trained as an economist, she’s been working as a journalist for many different newspapers and TV shows (Le Monde, M le Magazine, 1 Hebdo, LCI, Public Sénat…). Specialised in sustainable development, alternative lifestyles and environmental issues, she published several books on these topics. She joined the new magazine EBDO in January 2018 as a journalist based in Bordeaux.
Website: http://www.demoinsenmieux.com/ - Twitter: @SoAnn
Flo Laval - Documentary filmmaker, writer and traveller, he has worked for both traditional (France Télévisions, TV5 Monde...) and new media (Mediapart). He cofounded The Rabbit Hole, a trans-media studio, and also launched Revue Far Ouest, a pure-player media focused on South-West France.
Sebastien Teze - The company Les Films d’un Jour was founded in 2004. We produce every year several hours of documentary programs for various TV channels (France Télévisions, ARTE, CINE +, PLANET +…). We develop an eclectic production and approach many topics including culture, history, social issues, knowledge and environment. In 2018 the film “Melting Souls” by François-Xavier Destors was presented in official selections of many international festivals.
Natacha Bigan – graphic designer and artistic director, she likes working on ethical and environment-oriented projects. Passionate about travelling and nature, she has worked with many international NGOs (Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, WWF, and so on).
Florian Seraul – musican and composer. Florian Seraul started experimenting with the textures of sound in France when he was a just a child, locked in his bedroom, playing with whatever instruments he could get his hands on. His taste for indie, orchestral-folk music developed while living in Sweden, observing its sophisticated simplicity and an appreciation for silence and nature. Florian is now influenced by Montreal’s gritty, seductive underground music scene and its overground bustling blend of languages, cultures and lifestyles. All of these experiences combine to create undoubtably visual, visceral music.
The film will be broadcasted on Docstv, a SVoD platform dedicated to mainstream documentaries. It will also be shown in public screenings, festivals, universities and journalism schools. Also we’ll produce an English version to promote the film internationally.
Media is like football: everybody has an opinion of their role and of how they should work. We need to overcome the distrust of the public to reach a broad audience, in France and abroad.
We want to share our conviction that for a society to live well, people need to be well informed. To do so, we need means up to our ambition.
Up until now, we have self-financed some preliminary shootings. Anne-Sophie has been working for 4 years on this project without any funding. Flo also worked voluntarily, and had to turn down some paid projects. Both of them agreed to share the financial risk with the producers.
Even if we hope to find other financing (institutions, foundations, even hopefully a TV broadcaster after completion), today we need you to complete our project successfully!
We need 20 000 euros to make the film of our dream.
Our goals: 4 stages to make it to the top!
12 000 euros: If we reach this first stage, production and editing are fully secured. We can shoot all the sequences in France and abroad, and Natacha can work on an original graphic design.
15 000 euros: At this level, we can use data visualisation and animation sequences to enrich the film.
18 000 euros: Florian can work on a great original sound track, we can also reinforce the promotion, broadcast and distribution of the film
20 000 euros: We can produce an English version of the film to promote the film in festivals and organise projections followed by debates!
And beyond this?
30 000 euros: At this level, we have built around us an enthusiastic and committed community we couldn’t have hoped for! We could ensure the broadcast in theatres, organise more projections, broader events, but also remunerate all the people who have contributed to the film.
More than 30 000 euros? Anne-Sophie and Flo could investigate in other countries, to see how it works in places where freedom of the press is not that strong. There are many interesting initiatives to be highlighted in African or Asian countries as well!
This film is coproduced by Les Films d'un Jour and Place to B, a non-profit organisation that Anne-Sophie cofounded with the objective to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues.
We work along with many NGO and organisations that are trying to change the role of media in society. We wish to give their actions more visibility and to offer them a tool for collective discussions and debates.
The collected funds will be administered by the non-profit organization, “Place to B” and used exclusively for the production and distribution of the film.
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