Interview with Valérie Delpierre

Kristina Zorita
Kristina Zorita

Valérie Delpierre, producer of Summer 1993 by Carla Simon

After having been awarded with the best first feature prize and the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus at the Berlinale, Carla Simon’s Summer 1993 will be commercially released in Spain this weekend. The feature film directorial debut of Simon also won the Golden Biznaga for best Spanish film at the Malaga Film Festival of Spanish-Language Cinema.

Valérie Delpierre at Inicia Films produced this coming-of-age drama about a girl who has lost her mother. Delpierre also produced Los Desheredados, a short film by Laura Férres that won the Leica Cine Discovery Prize at La Semaine de La Critique - Cannes 2017. On the eve of the theatrical release of “Summer 1993”, EWA speaks with Valérie Delpierre.

What do such awards mean for you as a producer?

For me, it is an award for the whole team I am working with. An award for the team I have gathered around me over the past years. Filming is team work. In this case, my personal experience has matched projects of singular views. I had worked before with Carla in a short film and knew it was easy to work with her. Those kinds of situations are very helpful.

Did you expect such a success with Summer 1993?

I told Carla that we had a very good film. But I could not foresee how many spectators would be moved by it. After the screenings, many people came to thank us. The success of the film is clearly beyond any of our expectations. And it could still bring us more surprises.

What brought you to the project?

I was drawn by the vision. We do films that have to match both sides perfectly, the narrative and the visual side. They must have truth in them; they must sound real. In the case of Laura (the director of the awarded short), she came to me with a less developed script but with more words. She had a video of her father (the main character of the short) and I could see how well that man works with the story. Laura has that rare ability to approach her father and to do it with love, but at the same time to have the distance to show him as a character. When working with a project, I also like to imagine what the spectator will feel. I imagine feelings and emotions.

You are now producing the feature debut of Pilar Palomero: Las Niñas. What is the film about and at which stage of the production are you?

It is a film about an 11-year-old girl that questions her education. Me and Pilar worked together on a previous short. For almost a year and half we have worked on the script and right now we are trying to get the funding. BTeam Pictures, who has the distribution rights in Spain, is also a co-producer. For now, we have the support of the city of Zaragoza and the Television of Aragon. Positive discrimination

Is there a difference between a film directed by a man and a film directed by a woman?

Yes, I think that they have different sensibilities. But I don’t think that there is a women cinema per se. I do like the feminine sensibility. In my case, I have worked in my last projects with women because they conquered me with their determination, effort, work and talent.

How should the gender equality issue be addressed in the audiovisual industry? Is it important to you? Why?

I think that there should be a positive discrimination. Women should have the chance to direct good and bad movies, just as much as men currently do. If there is no chance for women, we will not know their abilities. Women have to have their own voice.

In the case of public funding, I would rather encourage a system based on percentage than the current system based on points. For now, 30 per cent of the public spending should go to movies made by women. In five or eight years, that percentage should climb up to 50 per cent.

At the same time we should be very strict on the data we use. I think we have to analyse why right now there are so few women directors. I am an optimist, though. There is a new generation in the schools and in three or four years we will have more women in the film industry.

Have you encountered any difficulties to develop and produce your projects as a female producer?

No, never. I do not know of any producers who openly say that they are not producing women.

What advice do you have for women aspiring to become a producer?

Preparation, preparation and preparation. If there is anything you haven’t done before, you won’t be able to do it better after. You can not have loose ends. You should also work with people you communicate well with, and who you respect. You have to be very convinced by the project. You should know that a project needs three or four years to be filmed and you have to be able to let a project go, something I have not learnt yet.

Estiu 1993 will be released in France on the 19th of July and in the United States late 2017.