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Cinematic Odyssey: An Interview with French Producer Antoine de Cazotte

Join us for an interview with the French film producer, Antoine de Cazotte, ahead of his appearance at the San Diego French Film Festival, held from June 2nd to 5th, 2024. At the festival, he will present the powerful documentary "Oceans", directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzeau.

As we sit down with Antoine de Cazotte, we embark on a journey from France to Hollywood through his career in the film industry, tracing its roots back to his childhood fascination that ignited his passion for storytelling. From his contributions to the Academy Award-winning movie "The Artist" to his current and upcoming projects, our conversation delves into his cinematic endeavors.

FQM: Can you tell us about your journey into the film industry?

Antoine de Cazotte: I had my first paid job at 9 as an extra in a movie production with Napoleon and his fully mounted army of Hussards. When I came back home and saw my family with their routine, I thought to myself that what I had just experienced was like living two lives at once. The routine that everyone goes through and then the fantasy life that you invent for the day. I decided at that moment the direction of my life. My professional life in the business started with a 2 hour morning radio show were I invited Movie people. I made some new friends and I learned a lot.

Antoine de Cazotte while shooting the film La Sentinelle endormie  group photo in black and white
Antoine de Cazotte while shooting the film La Sentinelle endormie

Later on I quit the radio and I learned the tools of the trade, how to operate a camera or a Nagra recorder, I studied makeup special effects, and props design. I started making documentaries, then went into fiction. Remember, at that time we were filming with negative film stock. This journey took me all around the world including 5 times in the Arctic. In 2000 I moved to Los Angeles were I produced 2 of my favorite movies: The Artist, by Michel Hazanavicius, and Oceans by Jacques Perrin.

FQM: You have worked on a diverse range of films. How do you approach selecting projects to work on?

AC: What I remember is that I took everything that came my way at the beginning. When I started out I divided my work with French film productions, Fashion shows, and US TV shows and Sports, I filmed Roland Garros for decades for instance as well as the Tour de France. And then I moved to the United States and I was the guy the French called to get their productions up and running. After all my experiences, now I don’t do just anything for the money. I am very excited by projects with a meaning and that are not just fillers.

Antoine de Cazotte and Jacques Perrin outdoors in the woods on set talking
Antoine de Cazotte and Jacques Perrin

FQM: Can you share any memorable experiences or challenges you've encountered while working on a film production?

AC: There are so many, and the truth is I don’t remember them all. It’s little things like making everyone happy after a long day that counts sometimes. An example is for instance, these producers who were flying in from LA to Paris to shoot a show. I picked them up at Roissy and I drove them directly from the airport to the location which was on the quai of the Seine facing Notre Dame de Paris at sunset. I had obtained a key from the city of Paris that opens the gate to the quai, and so I drove them on the quai to the water. They were in awe. Another time for a period film from the 20’s I negotiated a kilo of oranges for a telephone post that we used to make a mast for a schooner in the arctic where there are no trees... That was unusual…

Amazon Original Movie Poster for Zero Zero Zero

FQM: Looking ahead, what are some of the current or upcoming projects you are working on?

AC: A few years ago I did a mini series called zero, zero, zero for Amazon and it took us around the world for a year. It was great, it was like making 8 films back to back. So now I am working on a mini series that I am co-writing. We are at the stage of the concept, the story line and the arc of the characters and building financial interest around the project.I can’t tell you what it’s about, but I can tell you that it has Napoleon in it, going back to my roots.

Antoine de Cazotte while shooting Star 80 in Hollywood on set
Antoine de Cazotte while shooting Star 80 in Hollywood

To attend the San Diego French Film Festival

June 3rd: Screening of Oceans with a panel discussion including Antoine de Cazotte, Julie Dinasquet, Marine Biology Oceanographer, Arnaud Le Boyer, Physical Oceanographer, Ricky Rhodes (writer/director) & Jordan Henderson (producer/creative director) from Planet Froth Productions.

San Diego French Film Festival 2024

photos by courtesy of Antoine de Cazotte


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