The writer, journalist and screenwriter Audrey Diwan offers a second feature film that is socially engaged in its subject and on its set: Beneficiary of both the Paris Region innovation bonus for her environmental practices and the CNC’s equal opportunity bonus, Diwan’s Happening proves that one can carry out an ambitious project on a low budget. The film was awarded the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival.
Supported by the Paris Region's Support Fund and helped by Film Paris Region, this adaptation of Annie Ernaux's novel of the same name was partly filmed at the Orsay campus of the University of Paris Saclay in Essonne. Apart from the visual aspect in keeping with the novel’s historical setting in the 1960s, the producer chose this location in order to keep filming locations, green rooms and lounges all on site, together with sufficiently ample parking space during production in Paris Region. The film also was able to use the same location for various sets, from the university dorm to the showers to the soccer field.
“Like an idiot, I got myself pregnant.” This is the story of Anna, a young woman who decides to get an abortion so she can finish her studies and escape the social fate of her working-class family. This is also the history of France in 1963, a society that condemns women for their desires, and sex in general.
As a member of the 50/50 collective Audrey Diwan was particularly careful to hire as many women as men for her production team, from production director Monica Taverna to post-production director Mélanie Karlin, as well as her casting agents, head costume designer, editor and others. This commitment to equality earned her a 15% bonus from the CNC, a program put in place since January 1, 2019.
The producer’s social commitment is also visible through her choice and treatment of the film’s topic. A modern heroine, Anne (played by Annamaria Vartolomei) is on a quest for emancipation and freedom in a world whose rules are made to suppress women. She must constantly overcome the unspoken taboos and prohibitions society forces on her in order to live life to the fullest and have control over her own body without sacrificing her future.
Filming with Rectangle Production began in June 2020 and had to adapt to new COVID crisis health protocols as well as the desire to pursue an environmentally responsible approach. The film was created following the guidelines laid out in the Ecoprod Guide by the Ecoprod association, of which Film Paris Region is a founding member. The association Secoya was contacted by the film’s production team to benefit from their expert advice. Every step of the film process was rethought from an environmental point of view, from going paperless to using water coolers and reusable water bottles to sorting and recycling garbage. The production team used second hand costumes or rented costumes from suppliers such as La compagnie du costume and Euro-Costumes, and rented furniture from Lanzani, Quiquistock or Defrise. The entire team was also made more aware of the issues surrounding green production.
45 Paris Region companies were called upon during production, including 36 Film and Audiovisual industry contractors (33 production companies and 3 post-production companies), all of which are listed in our Resource Guide.