The After Pitch Story – “Back to Utopia”
The award-winning Belgian documentary maker, Fabio Wuytack reports back on the proven impact of his Sunny Side History Pitch
of “Back to Utopia” in June 2015.
From attracting new partners to renewing the way to tell historical stories, he shares his director’s point of view and confirms the news of the film’s completion.
“Pitching at Sunny Side of the Doc is important in order to prove the international value of your project to your national partners, and the event itselfs offers great international networking opportunities.“
The History project “Back to Utopia” (Projecto Productions) was successfully pitched at Sunny Side of the Doc 2015. What followed on from your pitch and which new international partners did you attract?
The success of the pitch brought on board an extra co-producer, Les Films de la Mémoire, which resulted in a successful collaboration and extra funding from the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la fédération de Wallonie Bruxelles.
A year and a half after your pitch, the film is now completed. How long from the first conversation about the project to final delivery ?
In how many countries will the film be distributed?
It took two years and a half. The film will be released theatrically in the Netherlands and Belgium in February 2017 and broadcasted by the public broadcasters VRT and HUMAN.
We’re working with Thierry Detaille (Visible Film) for the international sales.
What makes it a story with a global reach?
Every chapter of the film brings us to another part of the world. BACK TO UTOPIA is a story about the global challenges we face as globalized society.
John Hurt starts the film’s narration by saying that « It all started with a 500 year-old-book, the title of which is known by everybody but with a story remembered by few. »
Utopia is a perfect point of departure. Everyone knows the word and you get the audience attention when you confront them with the story of the forgotten visionary book Utopia. I couldn’t think of a better moment to launch the film BACK TO UTOPIA, as new ideas are more necessary then ever.
I think we underestimate the strength of our imagination when we picture a different world.
If a society does not take seriously its dreams, we will all end up in a nightmare.
In the book Utopia there is a unique blend between fiction and reality. Thomas More used it to cover his tracks to escape from bloody repression. Five hundreds years later we let ourselves be inspired by his formula. But we gave More’s character a contemporary update. He is no longer a Portuguese explorer, but an ambitious journalist. These are two very different jobs, but they have some similarities: the aim to discover new places and new stories, as well as the sad reality that both – explorers and journalists – are often used by the powerful for their less lofty undertakings.
In BACK TO UTOPIA, the fictional framework was a great way of bringing all the documentary stories together in an exciting narrative framework, which is brought alive by Johan Leysen (The American, Jeune et Jolie) and John Hurt
How do you see History programming reinventing itself in order to attract new and younger audiences?
« Based on a true story » is a very successful formula in feature films. So I really believe that the amazing stories hidden in our history are an unlimited source for great films able to attract new and younger audiences. I also think that the creative challenge is to connect historical content with contemporary realities that matter for the world of today.
What advice would you share with emerging producers looking for financing/coproduction partners at Sunny Side of the Doc 2017 next June?
As an European producer, you are facing two realities, the national and the international dimension of your film production. Pitching at Sunny Side of the Doc is important in order to prove the international value of your project to your national partners, and the event itselfs offers great international networking opportunities.
The 500-year-old book UTOPIA takes us on a journey through the world of today. What starts as a quest for an original medieval print stolen by the mafia in 2012 in Naples turn into a quest for the meaning of the book.
In an unique blend of fiction and documentary BACK TO UTOPIA tells the story of journalist Alex Dillen (Johan Leysen) and his Professor Panludic (John Hurt). A story about past choices and future decisions.
Find out more : www.backtoutopiamovie.com