431 inhabitants, a handful of streets crossed by two departmental roads and a church: at first glance, Mellionnec looks like a small village in Center-Brittany like there are so many others… Or almost. Because every year, several thousand people flock for three days to this town lost in the middle of the fields to attend the Documentary Film Meetings. The event, organized by the Ty Films association and which starts this Thursday, July 1, has built a solid reputation since its birth in 2007. On the program this year: screening of around twenty documentaries, meetings with directors, Nocturnal sound walks, organic meals and musical aperitifs… The last edition, in 2019, attracted more than 3,500 people.
“Local roots are a real strength”
Behind these Meetings, there is Jean-Jacques Rault, the director of Ty Films. As often with success stories, his story begins with an injury: a goat and poultry breeder in Glomel, he loses his land in 2001. Forced to retrain, the former farmer turns to achievement. After finishing his studies in Poitiers, he decided to come and settle in Mellionnec. “I wanted to make films, but not in Paris. At the time, everyone told me it was a huge mistake, ”he laughs. “But we are not cut off from the world because we live in the countryside: local roots are a real strength. “
Behind the camera, the former peasant signs several documentaries on the agricultural world, its pains and its developments. At the same time, with a few friends, he created the Ty Films association in Mellionnec and organized the first edition of the Meetings: “We said to ourselves: we do this for a year and we stop. We just forgot to stop! Nearly fifteen years later, Ty Films employs ten full-time employees, welcomes directors in residence all year round, and trains amateurs and undergraduates at the University of Brest (UBO). Skol Doc, their documentary film school, is due to open in 2022 and will offer unique training in Brittany.
A revitalized village
The strong growth of Ty Films, supported by the richness of the village’s associative soil, creates a virtuous circle: Mellionnec is becoming more and more attractive. “In 2012, we had to launch a reflection on the rehabilitation and construction of housing in the town center because we were overwhelmed with requests,” says Marie-José Fercoq, mayor of the town since 2008. These new arrivals revitalize the village and bring young people back – a quarter of the inhabitants are now under 25 years old. “In 2005, the school was threatened with closure because there were only 25 children: in 2021, there are 45! », She still rejoices. Mellionnec now has two bars, a café-bookstore – the only one within a radius of 45 km – an organic grocery store and bakehouse, a microbrewery… “When I arrived 25 years ago, the church square, in the center of the town, was empty, ”concludes the mayor. “Now, we can no longer move around there, there are so many terraces, shops… It’s a problem that I wish on all the mayors! “
Documentary Film Meetings, from July 1 to 4, in Mellionnec. € 4 per session. Program details on tyfilms.fr. Contact: 09 53 70 76 56.
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