The Barrière Foundation

The Barrière Foundation has been calling ‘action’ for 18 years

At each stage of its existence, Barrière has been an attentive and dedicated companion to artistic creation. But since 1999, that partnership has extended beyond collaborations with prestigious film festivals (Cannes, Deauville, Dinard, La Baule), welcoming some 3,000 films and plays to its establishments’ theatres, and even partnering with awards ceremonies such as the César Academy in Le Fouquet’s in Paris. This new push involves being a true patron of the arts. That’s how the Barrière Foundation came about, along with a simple idea: discovering new talent and helping it to emerge. Supporting the production of a first, second or third film or play, shining a spotlight on it and getting people to see it. 19 years ago, the motto “From page to screen and stage” was coined to define Barrière’s philanthropic yet demanding approach.

It wasn’t simply a matter of "technical coaching " but “encouraging the act of creation,” explains President Dominique Desseigne. A supervisory process that supports artists by drawing on the expertise of professionals: producers, distributors, theatre directors, actors. Once a year, each of the two juries is replenished with around ten different personalities from the world of cinema and theatre. The prize is the sum of 31,000€: 8,000€ for the winning creator, and 23,000€ set aside for promotion and distribution. Over the last 18 years, 34 projects have benefitted from the Foundation’s support (18 seen in cinemas, 16 applauded in the theatre). In 2018, the winning film was "Les Chatouilles" by Andréa Bescond and Eric Métayer, with Andréa Bescond, Karin Viard, Clovis Cornillac and Pierre Deladonchamps - on screens from the 14th of November. In the theatre, the 2018 prize went to the play "Skorpios au loin" by Isabel Le Nouvel, with Niels Arestrup and Ludmila Mikaël – on at the Bouffes Parisiens until the 6th of January 2019. In 2017, Nicolas Bedos won over the cinema jury by directing his first feature film, “Monsieur et Madame Adelman” with Dora Tillier. In 2016, writer-director Alexis Michalik received the Theatre prize for the play “Edmond”, which is still on the bill at the Théâtre du Palais Royal and currently on tour. As is “Adieu Monsieur Haffmann” by Jean-Philippe Daguerre, the 2017 winner, which is on at the Théâtre Rive Gauche and on tour. Since 2019, the Barrière Foundation’s track record has helped to support and showcase young writers whose work draws from the modernity of the day, and not just fashion or trends.

That said, the artistic bursary does lay down some rules. The Foundation requires that the work presented to juries is written predominantly in French and (or) broaches a Francophone theme. Candidates must not have released more than 3 works to the general public previously. And finally, a “technical-economic” condition: the candidate must be able to prove the production and/or distribution of the piece submitted, and said piece must be released during the twelve-month period following the jury’s decision at the latest. President Dominique Desseigne likes to remember that the word “Foundation” doesn’t only have a legal meaning: “it also means a pedestal, a base, a starting point. That’s what we want to be,” he says. Now we can be the ones to call “action!” or raise the curtain for the first time.