Avanti, Navire Argo!

© L’Abominable – Thanks to Emilion Baudeau for the model

Hello everyone,

We have raised the funds to make Navire Argo possible!!!

This morning of the 7th of march, we have signed a 35-year, rent-free emphyteutic lease, and renovation work on the building in the former Éclair laboratories will begin soon.

In 2025, we will move into the renovated building, install our lab equipment, and we’ll be able to return to making films outside the confines of the film industry – and to show them to the public in the adjacent screening room dedicated to photochemical film.

Thanks to all those who signed the call for support on the Naviro Argo website and to those who contributed financially, in France and abroad. We will use this money to meet expenses that are ineligible for the public funding that we have secured.

Thanks to all the public partners who have supported and accompanied us on this adventure: the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (€700,000), the Île-de-France Region (€748,000), the Seine-Saint-Denis Department (€700,000), and the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, who have rounded out the funding through the Green Fund program (€1,2 million), making it possible for us to finance the heavy-duty renovation project.

Thanks to the City of Épinay-sur-Seine for their faith in Navire Argo and for giving the opportunity of a permanent home to an organization that was used to the temporary.

Thanks to our two architects, Michel Gravayat and François Le Pivain, who have patiently accompanied us from the outset of our crazy venture, confident that we would succeed.

Thanks to all those who have helped us in concrete ways, giving their time, their attention, their advice and ideas, whether they were carried out or not, among the hundreds that we mulled over during the two hard years that are now behind us.

Thanks to all the curators, film festivals and collectives that organized screenings in support of Navire Argo, and to the press who help us spread the word about the project.

Thanks to all the filmmakers who donated their time to help us move 125 crates and all the machines to the building within the Éclair site that has been lent to us temporarily by the City of Épinay-sur-Seine while we wait for the renovation process to be completed.

More broadly, thanks to all the filmmakers and collectives that have used the laboratory since 1996 to make over 400 films, installations, and performances, whom we hope to see again working on the machines very soon, and to those who have programmed these works in screenings, giving meaning to the tool that we’ve been building for almost 30 years.

A laboratory that has been patiently assembled from salvaged materials, donated equipment, and inexpensive acquisitions, a laboratory that represents today a complete chain of production, will live on, nurturing the spirit of sharing and invention in the very place that emblematized the cinema industry in the days of photochemical film.

In parallel to the renovation, we are going to build the Navire Argo film collection, working with archives, collectors, filmmakers, and distributors willing to entrust us with photochemical film prints – shorts or features, 35mm or 16mm, contemporary or historic – which we will conserve in optimal conditions in exchange for the right to project them for the public in our screening space.

Navire Argo will be in tune with other places in France and around the world that are working to ensure that this medium will continue to be used into the 22nd century!

More broadly, we aspire to be a place open to others at a time when this is increasingly rare.

Today, we have a special thought for our comrade, Christophe Goulard, who took care of the machines that have served us all these years, and who left us last summer, before the Navire reached its destination.

We look forward to seeing you in the spring for a special screening to celebrate the launch of the renovation : the 26th of april at the Écran cinema in Saint-Denis and the 27th of april at the Reflet Médicis in Paris, with the film magazine Les cahiers du cinéma.

Follow the photos of the construction site over the months on our Instagram!

Dismantling of the Photomec – january 2024 © L’Abominable