Musical producer

Iconoclast, the producer of Athena, propels the next projects of Leo Berne, Elias Belkeddar, Said Belktibia (EXCLUSIVE)

Iconoclast, the international production group behind the Venice competition film “Athena” by Romain Gavras, is preparing a wide range of projects with emerging filmmakers from different audiovisual fields, including Leo Berne from the artist collective Megaforce, Elias Belkeddar and Said Belktibia from the Kourtrajmé collective. The company is also producing upcoming projects by Harmony Korine and Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, among others.

In a rare interview, Nicolas Lhermitte, who co-founded Iconoclast with Mourad Belkeddar and Charles-Marie Anthonioz, says the company emerged from the pandemic with a record number of projects developed. “We took the opportunity during the pandemic to develop a lot of projects, and today we have about thirty projects in the pipeline, covering films and series that are installed in our studios in France, the United States and in Germany,” says Lhermitte, who adds that Iconoclast aspired to “accompany multidisciplinary artists to venture from one field to another, films, TV series, branded content and music videos.”

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The company is set to shoot “Rokya”, Belktibia’s feature debut, a witch story set in a Parisian suburb, starring Golshifteh Farahani (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”) and co-written with Elias Belkeddar and Louis Penicaut (“The Office”). Belktibia previously directed the short “Ghettotube,” which played in Tribeca. The Jokers will distribute “Rokya” in France.

Iconoclast is also developing ‘I am a Monster’, the feature debut from Berne, who previously directed the critically acclaimed short film ‘The Censor of Dreams’ (co-directed with Raphael Rodriguez), which was shortlisted for this year’s Oscars. . Like Gavras, Bern has a track record in music videos through the Megaforce collective.

Bern’s feature debut will be a genre film aimed at Gen Z audiences involving an orphan girl battling a monster to protect her brother. Lhermitte says the film will also be about today’s society and will likely be shot in English. “The borders between Europe and the United States have opened up, and we see that the Americans are the first to contact us when they spot one of our talents, this was the case with Leo Berne,” he says. -he.

Iconoclast is well established in the United States, where it has already delivered the latest films by Gus Van Sant (“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”), Julian Schnabel (“At Eternity’s Gate”) and Korine (“The Beach Tramp”). Lhermitte says the company was working with Korine on its next project.

Iconoclast is also producing “Omar La Fraise”, Elias Belkeddar’s first feature film, whose “Un jour de mariage” won the best short film award at Cannes. Co-written by Elias Belkeddar, Thomas Bidegain (“A Prophet”) and Jérôme Pierrat (“The Last Panther”), “Omar La Fraise” is titled by Benoit Magimel and Reda Kateb, who plays a profiled retired gangster low for 20 years in Algeria. The film has already been boarded by Studiocanal, which handles international sales, as well as by the French channel France Télévisions.

Lhermitte says Netflix’s involvement in “Athena,” which marks Gavras’ most ambitious film to date and the streamer’s first French film in competition at Venice, reflects changing industry models.

“‘Athena’ is a film that would have taken us a very long time to finance,” says Lhermitte. “As we see in Venice with several films by directors like Gavras, Noah Baumbach and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the platforms are becoming like film studios, and working closely with directors who have a strong vision, giving them the possibility to reach audiences around the world at a time when the theatrical distribution landscape is becoming increasingly polarized.

Iconoclast has also expanded its international presence through its joint venture with Berlin-based StickUp Films to form Iconoclast Films Germany. The new banner, represented by CAA, develops and produces several feature films and series.

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