Producers to Watch: Sylvain Bursztejn is Coming to L.A.

by Sydney Levine
June 10, 2010 12:00 PM
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Sylvain Bursztejn, producer of 24 films since 1989, is best known for his French-Chinese films such as the Cannes Festival winners Spring Fever, Luxury Car, and the recent Locarno Golden Leopard winner She, a Chinese, and some of my favorites, The Cry of the Silk and The Perfect Circle which opened Directors Fortnight in 1996. He has forsaken China as his place of production due to the intolerance there for original thinking.


When he began producing in 1989, his film from Tunisia, Asfour Stah, opened Directors Fortnight that same year. The Oak Tree was in Cannes Competition in 1991.


He has five films currently in different states of development and will be visiting L.A. later in June to speak with interested parties. Interested parties would be those interested in making fine international coproductions with elements that fit the participating countries and are geared toward box office success.



Sylvain is currently working on a 5 hour TV documentary series with ARTE and co-written by Jacques Attali, the “Sherpa” of Mitterand and former president of the European Bank, and Pierre-Henry Salfati, a top tier writer-director of documentaries in France. The documentary is called Jerusalem-Athens and is about how all of our civilization is based upon the links between the Bible and Greek Athens. In 450 BCE the Bible was written and in 280 BCE it was translated into Greek, The Language of Western Civilization.


Salfati will also be directing Sylvain’s next film The Last Man a French-German coproduction starring Germany's preeminent actor Goetz George as an elderly man looking to be buried as a Jew and finding he must prove his Jewishness which has caused all the problems of his life. It will begin shooting in March 2011.


He is also working on an Indian film by a young woman director Alka Raghuran ♀, financed in part by Fonds Sud about fighting and vengeance between villages in which a young man tries to escape the law of vengeance (the murder of his parents) when his grandmother tells him he must leave. By apprenticing himself to a puppet maker he finds his salvation. The film is aiming to premier in Cannes 2011. Sylvain and Alka met at the New Comers section of the Coproduction Market in Berlin.


He has three other productions, including a fantasy supernatural feature by a young director Regine Abadia ♀ about a young painter in an artists' squat who becomes haunted by the house which had been commissioned as a place of torture during the Algerian war.


And he will direct his own script Pure Player (in French this means news you can find on the internet but which is not in the newspapers) about a young journalist who loves the smell of paper at a time when all the newspapers are dying because of the internet.


Finally, he has an English language film about a father’s assignment to his children regarding the Tarot cards and their search for their inheritance for which he is seeking a director who will also write the script.

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