Les États généraux du film documentaire 2005 Sacem Day

Sacem Day

As has become a tradition, the Friday of the États Généraux at Lussas will be devoted to musical creation as an active particip-ant in documentary film.

From the perspective of the French Society of Composers and Musicians (Sacem) and its cultural activities, the subject is unlikely to lose its interest, so true is it that the encounters we organize all year long with documentary filmmakers, directors and producers on music and musicians on each occasion reveal to us pract-ices and approaches which are, if not always fundamentally new, at least always personal and singular.

We are also convinced that the regular attend-ance at our Lussas screenings by documentary film professionals and amateurs is a sign that public interest in questions of music remains high.

This year, knowing that we could count on the curiosity of our public and with little fear of incurring their displeasure, we have decided, in association with the staff of the États Généraux, to broaden our perspective, renew our approach, and widen the question of the creative musical documentary to that of the creation of music and sound for documentary film.

If the two problems are not as symmetrically complementary as one could suppose from the simple inversion of their terms, we will say no more on this occasion, leaving it to our speakers and guests of the Sacem day to show you through image and sound how they participate in one same questioning of audiovisual creation.

In connection with the seminars on “Cinema and Contemporary Arts” which figure prominently in this 17th edition of the États Généraux, our morning will be organized by Philippe Langlois, coordinator of the Radio Creation Workshop at France Culture radio station, author of musical documentaries, doctor of musicology, and a specialist of electro-acoustic methods in film. As a taster, here is what he himself says of the programme he has chosen to screen and discuss at Lussas, details of which appear in the next page: “Developing the technical resources of the cinema apparatus, filmmakers and composers have carried out all kinds of experiments based on the manipulation of the optical soundtrack. Far from being peripheral, the recourse to means of transforming sound has created a new dialectical dimension with the image which has had no little impact on the poetic value of these films…”

The afternoon programming, based on a complementary theme of which he is the initiator and which provides much of the overall thrust of today’s screenings, was entrusted to Bernard Favre, author and director not only of document-aries but also of fiction films. Bernard Favre’s work is both extensive and rare, too dense in any case to be described in the short space provided us here. Among his many films, it is not the number of musical subjects which gave us the desire to hand over to him a part of the programme at Lussas – in fact, he is not a director of films on music – but rather his active interest in musical creation for film, and more precisely for documentary film. On his suggestion, it is not a homage to Bernard Favre that we propose, but a homage by Bernard Favre to the great docum-entary filmmakers who have paid particular attention to, and been particularly demanding concerning, the music of their films.

Once again we suggest you turn to the next page for details concerning the very fine prog-ramme that Bernard Favre will present, but please be warned that you may find films that Philippe Langlois talked about during the morning. Do not be surprised: there is nothing unusual in the idea that different approaches to the link between music and documentary film refer us, like so many complementary spotlights, to one identical and single problem of creation, and to the emblematic works which are as many crucial milestones in understanding what is at stake.

On another level, concerning contemporary developments in our relation to the production of documentary film, the Sacem experiments with these convergences through the implement-ation of its cultural activities in the field of audiovisual music. We had the opportunity last year in this catalogue to sketch out some remarks drawn from our experience of aid to the production of creative musical documentary. Our programme at Lussas this year, put together in cooperation with the staff of the États Généraux on the basis of an original proposal by Bernard Favre, happens to coincide with the setting up by the Sacem of an aid fund for original music, accessible since January by producers of feature length documentaries (80 minutes or longer). If the professionals present at Lussas wish to have further information, please contact us to learn more and to give us feedback on the effects of this new fund.

Still in connection with our cultural activities, and to conclude this friday’s programming at Lussas, the Sacem Prize for the Best Creative Musical Documentary will be awarded this year, at the beginning of the evening, to Serge Leroux for his film entitled Genève au son du temps, a documentary on the composer Michael Jarrell produced by Jean-Philippe Raymond (Hibou Production). François Bayle, President of the Symphonic Music Commission at the Sacem, will award a special mention to Jacques Goldstein for his coordination of a collective work of recreation entitled Jungle Blue, made during the Banlieues Blues festival of 2004 on a proposal by Stéphane Jourdain (La Huit). These films are extremely dissimilar in their format, mode of production and the intention they express on the relation bet-ween musical subject and film. They will no doubt illustrate the great diversity of practices mentioned at the beginning of this text. But who can complain?

May you all enjoy the Festival and the Sacem Day.