immagine gff 2022




Category: Edition 2022

In the heart of Paris, a prestigious high school takes an audacious bet: integrate students from working-class districts and make them break the circle of school failure through dance and hip hop. 

Original Title Rookies
Category Official Competition
Section GEx Doc
Tipology Documentary, Feature Film
Duration 115'
Production Year 2022
Nationality France
Directed by Thierry Demaizière, Alban Teurlai
Screenplay Elsa Le Peutrec, Thierry Demaizière, Alban Teurlai
Director of photography Alban Teurlai
Editor Alban Teurlai
Sound Emmanuel Guionet
Music AVIA
With Charlotte Saudrais, Erwan Schamaneche, Michelle Kibebe, Nathanaël Marante, Ketsia Chayni Obame, Maxime Auber, Mélissa Joseph, Aniss Orblin, David Bérillon, Pascale Guy, Christophe Barrand, Théophile Bensusan a.k.a Joker, Laura Defretin a.k.a Nala
Produced by Stéphanie Schorter, Romain Icard, Thierry Demaizière, Alban Teurlai
Production Falabracks (France)

ORIGINAL Portrait Thierry Demaiziere Alban Teurlai Pablo ReyThierry Demaizière & Alban Teurlai

Thierry Demaizière began his career as a reporter for RTL in 1985. He traveled to China, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and Israel. He was the only French radio journalist present in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. From 1997, Thierry Demaizière is entrusted with a daily interview on RTL, where he receives topical personalities. As an interviewer-portraitist, his unique tone and sensitivity quickly became a real trademark: Thierry Demaizière «tells» his subjects as closely and fairly as possible, to reveal them with complexity and richness. In 2001, Thierry Demaizière went from radio to television: he created the famous «Portrait» of the weekly program Sept à Huit on TF1 until 2018.
In 2004, he met Alban Teurlai, editor of numerous short films, clips and advertising films. Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai begin to co-direct documentaries for the most important French broadcasters, from France Télévisions to Canal+. They define themselves as portraitists, directing 11 films in ten years, mainly sensitive and elegant documentaries of celebrities: Karl Lagerfeld, Vincent Lindon, Fabrice Lucchini, Lilian Thuram, and unknowns: Couples, Squaddies...Their films are distinguished by their formal dimension: these almost impressionistic portraits benefit from an exceptional aesthetic signature, both in the image and the editing. RESET, which traces the adventure of Benjamin Millepied since his appointment as director of the ballet at the Paris Opera, will enjoy extraordinary critical success and was selected for the Tribeca Festival in 2016. ROCCO, a feature film released in 2017 in France, was also a critical success, both in France and abroad. LOURDES, selected in the category Best Documentary of the 2019’s César and released in France in May 2019, will be a success in theaters. Among their most recent work, there is MOVE, a documentary series for Netflix about 6 great choreographers (Akram Khan, Ohad Naharin, Lil Buck & Jon Boogz, Israel Galvan and Kimiko Versatile).

Directors’ statement

Alban Teurlai: David Bérillon, a sport teacher, former dancer, and huge hip-hop fan, had the idea of creating the class, which is unique in France. He wanted to go out to the projects and suburbs – which can be very tough places – and find kids who love hip-hop and bring them to Turgot high school in central Paris. He was backed by the principal, Mr Barrand, who went against the grain of the usual national education approach and decided to do away with geographical zones for schooling. The students get to dance, while still maintaining good grades in school so it combines educational and artistic excellence. They are taught by professional dancers and choreographers, they are encouraged to sample other cultural events, they are taken to the theater at Chaillot and concerts at La Villette, and they get back on track with their studies thanks to dance.
Thierry: It was very courageous of Mr Barrand because usually, principals put all their efforts into getting the best results possible, so their school is well ranked. Whereas here, he knew he was risking seeing the graduation success rate fall, but he took pride in reaching out to students who might have dropped out of the school system and bringing them back in.
Alban: the class leader David Bérillon was a documentarist’s dream! He has heaps of charisma and this natural authority with the students. He’s an exceptional coach. He’s all over it and he adores his students. In short, he’s a fascinating guy.
Thierry: David is a model servant of the Republic, the teacher you wish your own kids would have. He teaches, he listens, and he instills values; through hip-hop he teaches his students to become citizens. Respect!
Alban: It obviously took a certain time for the students to adapt, but it happened quite naturally. A theme that comes up quite often in hip-hop is representation. They are proud to represent their peers, their neighborhood, their high school, and the hip-hop movement. And for exposure, there’s nothing like a camera – better still a movie camera.
Thierry: One of their biggest concerns was knowing how, two or three years later, they would feel about their looks, their hair, and their overall appearance. We filmed them in 2018-2019 in the middle of adolescence at an age when the body is changing a lot. They’ve got braces and acne. One kid came to see me, very worried, and asked: “Are you going to keep the footage of me from the start of the year?” I said yes, why? “That’s horrible, I didn’t have my bangs yet!”
Alban: But they end up forgetting that we were filming them. Those kids are 15, they were born with a smartphone in their hand. They’ve been filming and being filmed since they were born, so the presence of the camera is not something they even think about anymore. They never looked at the camera, its presence never changed anything in their behavior. After two days of filming, they had completely integrated the crew into their daily routine, even though there are only three of us: Thierry, the sound engineer, and me. We managed to keep right out of the way in a corner of the class or the gymnasium. After three days, we were part of the class.”

Falabracks (France)

International distribution
Festival contact
Le Pacte (France)