You wouldn't expect a Sorbonne-educated Parisian who runs a film production company co-owned by an internationally renowned fashion designer to be one of Nashville's biggest boosters, but if Charles-Marie Anthonioz has his way, he may do more to raise Nashville's profile than the entire Chamber of Commerce.
Anthonioz runs and produces movies for O'Salvation, a production company co-founded in 2002 by French designer agnès b. and Nashville filmmaker Harmony Korine. After studying media and loan economics at the Sorbonne, he took a job in New York in 2004, but he soon wound up back in Paris, where he joined forces with agnès, who soon introduced him to Korine. A partnership was born.
"We had a great connection, and I started working with him on Mister Lonely," Anthonioz says of Korine's arty 2007 comedy-drama about a commune for celebrity impersonators in the Scottish Highlands. "Next thing you know, my wife Olivia wins a green card in the lottery, and we move to Nashville."
Since arriving here five years ago, Anthonioz has produced several other films in addition to Mister Lonely, including two by Nashville filmmaker Brent Stewart: Blackberry Winter and The Dirty Ones. And let's not forget 2009's Trash Humpers, in which Korine resumed the mantle of arthouse provocateur. Anthonioz even makes a cameo, though you probably wouldn't recognize him — and he prefers it that way.
He splits his time between Nashville and Los Angeles' Silver Lake neighborhood (Olivia is working with popular New York-based restaurant group Fig & Olive, which is opening a West Hollywood location, at least until she gives birth to the couple's first child, due in April.) But Anthonioz feels there's something special here that Tinseltown can't provide. That certain je ne sais quoi (did we spell that right, Charles-Marie?) became evident during O'Salvation's latest project, "Umshini Wam," a short film Korine shot with Zef-rap sensation Die Antwoord when the South African duo were in town for a Nov. 3 show at the Cannery Ballroom, which will be released free online for maximum exposure.
"I find people super enthusiastic here," Anthonioz says of his adopted city. "They want it to happen in Nashville, which is the beauty of it. For the Die Antwoord movie, we had amazing crew, amazing people in [post-production] with Ground Zero and Digital Audio Post, who are doing a terrific job on this film. All the crew we have is just as professional as in Los Angeles and New York, and way more enthusiastic. Willing to make things happen, still having fun, without complaining even when you are low in budget. It's just beautiful."