In order to know Nicolas Bary, you have to start with his childhood. His parents immersed him in a world of art and culture, where he made one impactful discovery after another. The first would be Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang, at the age of eight. Next, at the age of nine, Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, followed by George Lucas’s Star Wars trilogy. The world of entertainment would never cease to captivate him. Early on, his influences were primarily American, especially blockbusters: Back to the Future, directed by Robert Zemeckis, Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, directed by Terry Gilliam, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, David Fincher’s Seven, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands… Each of these films left its mark on his childhood and adolescence. Science fiction, fairy tales, fantasy, oneirism, the supernatural—these genres spoke to him and drew him deeper into the world of film.
The catalyst that set off his own involvement in film was a book that he came across at his parents’ home in Nemours, France, when he was 16 years old: “The Fifth Element” by Luc Besson. A whole new world opened up to him. “I may not be an expert, but I like computers, role play, special effects, group projects, technology… what if I combined all that to make movies?” From that moment on, Nicolas Bary buried himself in the encyclopedia to learn about every single film-related job and figure out what exactly a film set was.
“I want to make my dreams a reality: for me, that’s what it means to direct”.
Thus, Nicolas Bary set off like an explorer on a mission. That year, he would discover a plethora of French directors and films. Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element and Léon, Jan Kounen’s Dobermann, followed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Mathieu Kassovitz… each one would inspire his grand adventure. “I’m starting from zero and I’m going to build everything…”
Following this revelation, Nicolas Bary threw himself into directing. First came Surprise, a short film he filmed with his cousins and friends from high school. Then, during his last year of high school, he wish he could make an adaptation of Soda, the graphic novel, his obsession at the time. Several years later, he convinced the author to make a feature-length film, which is currently in the process of being written.
After receiving his high school diploma, Nicolas Bary was accepted to ESRA: l’École Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle, a prestigious film school in Paris. During his first year as a student, he embarked on a five-month internship for the filming of Olivier Dahan’s Petit Poucet. He spent two months working on production and three months on set. Eager to continue work on set, he began working on another short film: Fragile, in 2001—the first film that he would direct with a professional team.
Following Fragile, Nicolas Bary carried out different production-based internships for various short and full-length films. Over the course of these formative years, he developed his professional experience, whether in production, as assistant director or support on set. From 2001 to 2005, he worked on Olivier Dahan’s La Vie Promise (2001), Denis Dercourt’s Mes enfants ne sont pas comme les autres (2001), Jan Kounen’s Blueberry l’expérience secrète (2002), Alain Resnais’s Pas sur la bouche (2002), Lorraine Levy’s La Première fois que j’ai eu 20 ans (2003), Bertrand Tavernier’s Holy Lola (2003), Tristan Aurouet and Gilles Lellouche’s Narco (2003), Frédéric Berthe’s Alive (2004) and Ron Howard’s The DaVinci Code (2005).
Nicolas Bary shot his second short film, Before, in 2002. This would be the precursor to Les Enfants de Timpelbach. Then, he shot Judas in 2004. From that time on, he stopped working as an assistant for full-length films and began directing commercials for brands such as Total, Tabasco, GRDF, Kinder, Galaxy, Ooredoo, the application for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Annecy. He also directed music videos for Emilie Satt (2009), Pamela Hute (2011), Nadeah (2014) and Vianney (2014).
From 2007 to 2008, he consecrated his time and energy to directing his first feature-length film, Les Enfants de Timpelbach.
In 2008, he tried his hand at yet another facet of film: production. He founded Les Partenaires alongside Nathanaël Lacombe and Paul de Vulpillières. From start to finish, they supported and produced Les Bons Tuyaux, Le Miroir et Eve.
In 2012, Nicolas Bary returned to directing and shot his second feature-length film, Au Bonheur des Ogres, an adaptation of the novel by Daniel Pennac.
In 2015 and 2016, Nicolas undertook the direction of Petit Spirou, co-produced by Les Partenaires.
Director, producer, screenwriter—Nicolas Bary will be taking on his upcoming projects in conjunction with Les Partenaires. The films which he does not direct himself will be entrusted to directors that he knows and trusts. A wide array of projects awaits this industrious filmmaker. Le Monde des Cancres (also a graphic novel and series), Quand on crie au loup (directed by Nicolas Duval), The Greater Good (an adaptation of Antoine Bello’s best-seller), Les Ceintures noires (directorial debut of Toni Datis) are just a few of the feature-length films in which Nicolas Bary is currently invested as a producer. He is developing the English adaptation of several projects, notably Soda, and Chained.
As a director, Nicolas Bary is working on several feature-length films: Le Petit Spirou, Increase and Le Sumo (which will be filmed in Japan). Funding is currently underway for Le Petit Spirou—inspired by the beloved Tome and Janry comic book and adapted by Laurent Turner. At the present time, the movie is in post-production and would be out in September the 27th 2017. The cast members include Pierre Richard, François Damiens, Natacha Régnier, Alice Pol, Armelle et Philippe Katerine.
Many themes speak deeply to Nicolas Bary. His films tend to center around childhood. He enjoys working with children and teenagers, particularly when placed in situations that require them to take on adult responsibilities.
His filmography is also influenced by folklore and storytelling; Nicolas Bary reinvents tales and fables for audiences of all ages. His films employ a contemporary, sometimes futuristic style. He never settles for pure realism, preferring instead to plunge the spectator into a dreamlike world of fantasy. He strives to transport his audience into an alternate universe. Yet the themes of kindness and compassion permeate his films, as illustrated by his kind-hearted villains.
In this dream world, Nicolas Bary brings his audience to a place of sincere emotional release. The spectator must delve into his or her own imagination and experience, and Bary creates a safe place for careful introspection that spontaneously reawakens childhood emotions. In his music videos and commercials, he challenges the viewer to look at things from a different, occasionally darker angle. The viewer must step outside of his or her comfort zone; Nicolas Bary’s commercials bear testament to that, as well as his upcoming films.
Nicolas Bary also likes to play, and he shares that with us. He offers us a world of entertainment and distraction, yet his films draw his audience to reflect. His greatest inspiration is Steven Spielberg, who was able time and again to create films that communicate fun and adventure as easily as they tackle politics and deeper themes.
In order to understand Nicolas Bary’s films and artistic direction, one must delve into the places he’s traveled, his musical upbringing and colors that spark his creativity. Japan, Iceland and the United States (New York City and Los Angeles in particular) are three countries that inspire him: Japan for its mixture of ancient and modern; Iceland for its vast open spaces, sense of adventure and pure, overwhelming landscapes, as well as its modernity; the United States, which awakens in him a multitude of hopes and dreams.
Raised in a family of musicians—his father a cellist for the Opera de Paris, his mother a pianist—Nicolas Bary was immersed in classical music from a very young age. Yet he is drawn to music of all different styles, from heavy metal to electronic music. For him, music is a way to speak to the subconscious, with the power to evoke every emotion from laughter to tears, and is a huge source of inspiration.
The originality of Nicolas’s work also resides in his unique relationship to colors. Blues, fluorescents, halftones, stark colors—Nicolas Bary appreciates contrasts and surprising combinations, such as blue-green paired with orange or yellow.
He enjoys revisiting past time periods, steampunk, machinery, Jules Verne… simple, uncluttered style with a feminine touch.