| Guillaume Laurant Masterclass|
GUILLAUME LAURANT MASTERCLASS
French scriptwriter Guillaume Laurant, who wrote the script for the box-office hit Amelie, gave a masterclass titled “Adaptation”, yesterday, Sunday November 26th in collaboration with the Greek National Book Centre (EKEBI).
Also present on the panel was the President of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Georges Corraface, the Director of ΕΚΕΒΙ, Catrine Velissari and the President of the Federation of Scriptwriters in Europe, Christina Kallas-Kalogeropoulou.
After a brief greeting by Mr. Corraface, Mrs. Velissari mentioned that book adaptations are extremely important for EKEBI as they are able to breathe life, or lives, into the original work.
Guillaume Laurant thanked the Festival for the invitation and spoke about his career. “I am completely self-made. I never studied scriptwriting and as a matter of fact, I was a driver, a waiter, a night-guard and even a builder before I became a scriptwriter. I thought that life is like it is in books”, he said. Regarding script adaptations, Guillaume Laurant said that every book requires a different technique. “In A very long engagement, the story was very complicated. Therefore, we had to make many changes to make it simpler and give it a main theme. In another project we had to add subversions in order to make it more interesting”.
Regarding the differences between literature and a script, Mr. Laurant said: “A novel is self-sufficient. Of course, it can be adapted into a basis for something new, but it is complete by itself. Even the music and the sounds that are described, give it the personal touch of its author. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to read a script. It has no literary value for me”.
He also mentioned that the director is the soul of a film, especially in France. “The scriptwriter writes and creates a structure but the soul and mood of the film are solely the director’s work. The result is all his. The script is only the foundation. Nobody, though, can live in the foundations of a building, you need walls and a roof”.
Laurant also mentioned that he is lucky to have worked with renowned directors who included his vision in the final result. Regarding Amelie in particular, Guillaume Laurant said that it changed his life and he’s grateful for that. “I don’t complain when the second thing that people always ask me about is Amelie. It gave me the freedom to be selective when chosing projects to work with. Nobody knew me until then”. Laurant also added that, thanks to Amelie, he met his wife, actress Sadrine Bonheure, at the Normandy Festival, where she was honoured and he was being awarded for a film.
Laurant didn’t want to compare literature and cinema, since, as he said, he works with both and finds them equally interesting: “It’s true that I’m a man of literature. I was first touched as a reader and later as part of the audience. There is a trend, especially in France, to label people, and that makes it hard to associate someone with two traits”.
At the end of the discussion, ΕΚΕΒΙ presented an award for best script adaptation for a feature film accompanied by a prize of 7,000 euros. The award went to Manolis Tsipos’ film Papisa Ioanna, which was based on the homonymous work of Emmanuel Roidis. Finally, Ilias Yannakakis’ film, O aftohir, an adaptation of Mihail Mitsakis work, received a special mention award.