Alain Attal Takes French Academy's Producers Prize

Alain Attal -Getty-H 2019
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The Prix Daniel Toscan du Plantier — the top honor for producer of the year — is traditionally awarded during a gala dinner held at Paris' Georges V hotel.

Alain Attal took the French Academy's producing prize ahead of the upcoming Cesar Awards.

The prize has become an early predictor for the top prize on the big night, and Attal's win puts the two films he produced in the lead for a best film trophy: Gilles Lellouche's Cannes comedy Sink or Swim and Jeanne Herry's adoption drama In Safe Hands

The prolific Attal is behind more than 30 films — including Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties, starring Clive Owen and Marion Cotillard; Maiwenn's My King; and Nicole Garcia's Under the Land of the Moon — under his Les Productions du Tresor banner.

The top honor for producer of the year, the Prix Daniel Toscan du Plantier is traditionally awarded during a gala dinner held at Paris' Georges V hotel. French stars came out to support their own champions, with Tahar Rahim, Karim Leklou, Sandrine Kiberlain and Elodie Bouchez among the luminaries. CanalPlus CEO Maxime Saada, BNP Paribas CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe and Audrey Azoulay, former culture minister and current director general of UNESCO, were also in attendance. 

Current culture minster Franck Riester started the ceremony with an impassioned speech promising to fight for filmmakers in a challenging economic environment, adding that French cinema should remain "dynamic, diverse, and generous for artists creators, writers, actors [and] directors." 

He added that the government will continue to support filmmakers and exhibitors, alluding to the need for films to be on the big screen. "Cinema is the movie theater," Riester said, speaking to a room full of producers and executives. "We will always support you in the movie theater. It is a unique experience."

This year's best film nominees are Emmanuel Finkiel's Memoir of War, produced by Laetitia Gonzalez, Yael Fogiel, David Gaquie, Julien Deris and Etienne Mallet; Pierre Salvadori's The Trouble With You, produced by Philippe Martin and David Thion; Jacques Audiard's The Sisters Brothers, produced by Pascal Caucheteux, Gregoire Sorlat and Michel Merkt; Lellouche's Sink or Swim, produced by Attal and Hugo Selignac; Alex Lutz's Guy, produced by Oury Milshtein; Xavier Legrand's Custody, produced by Alexandre Gavras; and Herry's In Safe Hands, produced by Attal, Huge Selignac and Vincent Mazel.

With two of Attal's films in the running, the outcome will be determined Friday night at Paris' Salle Pleyel, where Robert Redford is set to accept a career honor. 

Last year, Robin Campillo's 120 BPM won the du Plantier prize for Marie-Ange Luciani and Hugues Charbonneau and later went on to win six main awards during the Cesars, including best film and screenplay.