Agent - Intertalent
48, rue Gay-Lussac
75005 Paris, France
tel. (331) 47 23 40 00
fax. (331) 47 23 30 35
Directors Guild of America.
Writers Guild of America
Screen Actors Guild
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatique (SACD)
CNC (France) carte professionnelle N°. 3306
Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma
European Film Academy / ADAMI
A Short Biography of Bob Swaim
Robert F. Swaim was born in Chicago in 1943. Bob came to France as a student to work on his doctorate in ethnology. He studied at the College de France with Claude Levi-Strauss and with Georges Ballandier at L'Ecole des Langues Orientales. However, spending most of his free time at the French Cinématheque, he quickly caught the "film bug" and dropped out of his doctoral program and entered l'Ecole Nationale de la Cinématographie et la Photographie on the rue de Vaugirard, later known as l'Ecole Louis Lumière.
After graduating from "Vaugirard" in 1970, Swaim spent most of the seventies writing and directing documentaries and commercials. Unable to break into the closed world of feature films, he founded, along with several other young filmmakers, a film company to produce their own films. During the few years of their existence, they produced over fifty theatrical short films of young debutant filmmakers including 3 short films that Swaim wrote, directed and produced. The three films won numerous international prizes and awards and enable Swaim to write and direct his first feature film, LA NUIT DE SAINT GERMAIN DES PRÈS (1977) starring Michel Galabru, Mort Shuman, and for the first time on screen, a young talented actor named Daniel Auteuil. The film also marked the re-discovery of a long forgotten French writer, Leo Malet and introduced his character, Nestor Burma, to a new generation of mystery fans.
The LA NUIT DE SAINT GERMAIN DES PRÈS, shown at the Director's Fortnight (la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) in Cannes, was a critical success but a box office flop and it was four years before Swaim was to direct his next feature, LA BALANCE. The film was not only one of the biggest box offices successes in the history of French cinema but went on to change the face of the French "polar". Le Monde wrote, "Avec LA BALANCE, Bob Swaim a réinventé le film policier." The film had 9 César nominations, winning Best Picture, Best Actor (Philippe Léotard), and Best Actress (Natathalie Baye).
The film became an international success and led to Swaim's first Hollywood contract. In 1985, Swaim wrote and directed HALF MOON STREET, adapted from Paul Theroux award winning novel, "Dr. Slaughter". The film starred Sigourney Weaver and Michael Caine, and introduced for the first time on the big screen, a young French actor, Vincent Lindon.
Swaim, now in Hollywood, signed a contract with MGM as a director, writer, and producer. There he developed several projects for MGM and directed MASQUERADE for the studio in 1988, starring Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly. Disenchanted with Hollywood and the studio system, Swaim return to France where he set up a company to develop European projects for American producers.
In 1989, Swaim left for Rome where he spent two years writing and directing the French classic novel; l'Atlantide for the Italian producer Roberto Ciccuto. The 19th century adventure drama, shot in the legendary Studio 5 at Cinecitta in Rome and in the southern desert of Morocco, starred Tcheky Karyo, Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena and the Oscar winning actor, Fernando Rey.
After the film, Swaim came back to Paris and for the next few years developed a ground-breaking television series for France Télévision, "Police-Secrets". The series, consisting of twelve 90 minute films, were one of the first realistic police dramas (polar) on French television. It set the tone and pace for the numerous French cop shows to come. Apart from writing and producing the series, Swaim also directed several 90 minute films for France Télévision and Canal +.
In 1997, Bob Swaim revient à la mise en scène en tournant pour le cinema THE CLIMB (1997-1998) starring John Hurt and David Strathairn. The film was one of Swaim's most critically acclaimed films, winning prizes in numerous festivals including the prestigious UNICEF Prize for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival.
Swaim then adapted "Giovanni's Room", the American cult novel by James Baldwin for James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. Then in 2001, Gerard Mortier, director of the Salzburg Opera Festival, asked Swaim to direct the Janacek opera, "Jenufa" with Hildegard Berhens and Karita Mattila and Sir John-Eliot Gardiner conducting. The opera was the critical and popular success of the festival.
The following year, Swaim began working on his first comedy, CHEAP SHOT. The film went into production in 2003 and was released in the summer of 2004 under the name of NOS AMIS LES FLICS. The film, starring Daniel Auteuil, Frédéric Diefenthal et Lorant Deutsch, won the Grand Prix du Festival de Saint Malo that year.
Aside from writing, directing and producing, Bob Swaim has acted in several films including John Landis's SPIES LIKE US, Caroline Huppert's J'AI DEUX AMOURS, James Ivory's SOLDIERS' DAUGHTERS NEVER CRY, and most recently, Florence Quentin's OLE starring Gerard Depardieu and Gad Elmalech.
In the 1990s, it became obvious to many in the French film industry that one of the industry's biggest problems was the lack of qualified screenwriters so in 1993, Swaim joined the Association Équinoxe , a screenwriting workshop, recently founded by Jeanne Moreau et Noëlle Deschamps. These workshops were designed to give an international profile and resonance to selected French and European projects, allowing them to reach a variety of audiences in a more direct way. Since 1993, there have been almost 8000 screenplays submitted and over 200 writers selected, 135 international advisors, and a record 65 films produced and released. In 2003, Swaim was elected to the Board of Directors of Équinoxe.
He has also been an advisor-consultant at the Performing Arts Lab for Screenwriters in Kent, England and, most recently, at the Australian Film Commission's workshop in Sydney. Additionally, he has been a guest lecturer at New York University and Columbia University.
He has also taught acting at Andreas Voutsinas' Theatre des 50 "L'Atelier" and the VO/VF Acting School. The French Republic awarded Swaim the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for his contribution to the French cinéma. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the European Film Academy.
Currently Bob Swaim is writing his next feature film, "Pigalle-Barbès" (titre provisoire) ? a thriller that takes place in Paris during the French-Algerian War. He is also preparing a documentary for France Télévision on the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists that took place in Paris in 1956 as part of the "Année des Cultures Francophones", parrainé par l'Unesco and the president de la République française. In 2007, he will return to the stage, to direct a "Blues Odessey" au Theatre du Chatelet. This "blues opera will be "un periple musical à travers la musique première de l'Amérique noire".
LA NUIT DE SAINT-GERMAIN DES PRÈS
(1977 ? GAUMONT /Filmologies FRANCE)
Official Selection Cannes (Cinéma Français)
Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival
with Michel Galabru, Mort Shuman, & Daniel Auteuil
Released in Canada in 1978
(1982 ? Les Films Arianes FRANCE)
Césars (French Academy Awards) for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Actor and 14 nominations
Official French Selection: Toronto International Film Festival
with Nathalie Baye, Philippe Léotard, Richard Berry, Maurice Ronet, Tcheky Karyo, Florent Pagny, Christophe Malavoy
RELEASED in USA in 1983 by Spectra Films
HALF MOON STREET
(1986- RKO/20th Century Fox U.K.)
Official Selection: Toronto Film Festival (1987), Best Actress at Le Mysfest Film Festival (Italie)
with Michael Caine, Sigourney Weaver & Vincent Lindon
Released in 1986 by 20th Century Fox .
(1988- MGM U.S.A.)
Official Selection: Deauville Film Festival & Prix du Public -Le Mysfest Film Festival (Italie)
with Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly, Dana Delany, John Glover, Doug Savant
Released in 1988 by MGM
(1992 ? RCS/Gaumont ITALY-FRANCE)
with Tcheky Karyo, Jean Rochefort, Fernando Rey, Anna Galiena, Christopher Thompson & Claudia Gerini
(1997 ? Ellipse/Canal + NEW ZEALAND-FRANCE)
UNICEF PRIZE for Best Feature Film at the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival, également primé dans les festivals de Miami, Mill Valley, Vienne, Valladolid, Salerno, Tel Aviv, Hyderbad, Buenos Aires
with John Hurt, David Strathairn, Gregory Smith
Released in USA in 1998 by Panorama Entertainment
(2004 ? Aliceleo FRANCE)
with Daniel Auteuil, Frédéric Diefenthal, Armelle Deutsch, Lorent Deutsch, Atmen Kelif, François Levantal, christophe Aleveque
Best Feature Prize ? Saint Malo Film Festival 2004
LE DOIGT DE DIEU
(1993) - PILOTE
with Roger Hanin, Constance Englebrecht
TARGET OF SUSPICION
with Tim Matheson, Lysette Anthony, Agnes Sorel, Noemie Kocher, Eric Pratt, Marc Saez
FEMME DE PASSION
with Brigitte Fossey, Angelo Infanti, Hanns Zischler, Claudia Gerini, Marc Saez, Mapi Galan
LE JOURNAL DE MONSIEUR BONNAFOUS
Prix Spécial du Jury -(1971) Festival de Jeune Cinéma à Hyères
Official French selection:
Festival de Dinard
Los Angeles Film Festival (Filmex)
Chicago Film Festival
L'AUTOPORTRAIT D'UN PORNOGRAPHE
Prix International de la Critique - (1972) Festival de Court Métrage à Grenoble
Official French Selection:
Los Angeles Film Festival (Filmex)
London Film Festival (Outstanding Short Film of 1972)
Quinzaine des Réalisateurs - Festival de Cannes (1972)
VIVE LES JACQUES (1972)
Second Prize - Festival de Téhéran (1973)
Sélectionné et finaliste pour le Prix Jean Vigo (1973)
Festival de Cannes - Programme Court Métrage (1973)
Documentaries, commercials, theatrical shorts
Between 1971 ? 1978 directed commercials, documentaries and theatrical shorts.
MUSIC VIEOS : Johnny Halliday, Doc Gyneco.
DOCUMENTARIE : Jean-Jacques Milteau "The Memphis Sessions"
1984 - 1987 Producer INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS DEVELOPEMENT, INC.
1987 - 1990 Producer BOB SWAIM PRODUCTIONS at MGM
1989 - 1991 Producer POLICE SECRETS for FALCON PROD./FRANCE 3
LE JOURNAL DE MONSIEUR BONNAFOUS (1970) (with Robert Rea)
L'AUTOPORTRAIT D'UN PORNOGRAPHE (1971) (with Roland Topor)
VIVE LES JACQUES (1972); THE HERESY (1973) (with Lawrence Snelling)
LA NUIT DE SAINT GERMAIN DES PRES (1977) (with Robert Rea)
FIRE ZONE (1978) (with Roland Topor), THRILLS (1979)
LA BALANCE (1982); ESCORT GIRL/HALF MOON STREET (1986) (with Edward Behr)
L. A. GOLD (1987) (with David Franzoni)
THE PARIS PROJECT (1990)
L'ATLANTIDE (1991) (with Christopher Frank)
VICE & VERSA (1995) (with Mathieu Fabiani)
FANNY IN LOVE (1998-99)
GIOVANNI'S ROOM (2000) (with Caryl Phillips)
CHEAP SHOT aka NOS AMIS LES FLICS (2002-3).
and the French television series,
POLICE SECRETS (1989-1990):
LE DERNIER SHOOT,
GOUT DE VERRE,
HISTOIRES DE FEMMES,
L'ALIBI (with Mathieu Fabiani).
SPIES LIKE US (John Landis)
HALF MOON STREET (Bob Swaim)
TOURBILLION (José Dayan)
J'AI DEUX AMOURS (Caroline Huppert)
TARGET OF SUSPICION
RAINBOW DRIVE (Bobby Roth)
VIENS JOUER DANS LA COUR DES GRANDS (Caroline Huppert)
SOLDIERS'DAUGHTERS NEVER CRY (James Ivory)
Guest lecturer ("Screenwriting and Personal Experience"-)
New York University 1983
Guest lecturer ("Directing as an Auteur" -)
Columbia University 1987
1992 L'Atelier Voutsinas/Paris
Stanislavski's System of Physical Action (1995-1996)
President of "Spring 97 Session" of Equinoxe Screenwriters Workshop (France)
Directing Tutor at the PAL Screenwriters' Lab, Bore Place, Kent, England (Spring 1998)
Equinoxe Screenwriters Workshop (France) Spring 1999,
Jury President Festival de Troia (Portugal)1999
Jury President Festival de Benodet (France) 2000 and the Chicago International Film Festival (Oct 2000)
Board of Directors - Equinoxe Screenwriters Workshop (France) Spring 2001
Script Clinic ? Berlin 2004 Lectures at the American University in Paris on screenwriting and directing
Spark Screenwriting Workshop ? Australia (2005).