- Step 1 IS DONE: renovate the grave of Georges Méliès in the Père Lachaise cemetery: 36 000€
- Step 2 : 12 years of maintenance for the grave: 7 000 €- New Goal = 43 000€
Let's start step 2. As you know, the restoration will not be eternal. We need more money = 7000€.
A few examples:
- the bust will need 2 layers of wax every 2 years
- the grave will be cleaned up with soft techniques
- we know that 3 iron posts will blew up the stones in a few years. It's inevitable. So we will have to fix the broken stones and set up the posts.
All with conservators and experts in art. It's expensive because the Père Lachaise is classified as a historical monument. Let's do it !!!
- Step 3: create a real professional website for Georges Méliès: 8 000€
For all the 3 steps, the budget breakdown is the same:
If you want to know more about:
- why 36 000€ ?
- why the city of Paris, the ministry of culture or the french state can't help us?
- where are the issues ?
- all the steps of the restoration in details ?
- see the grave in 3D ?
- 1885: Georges married Eugénie Génin with whom he will have 2 kids (one of them is my great grandfather, André)
- December 1925: Georges, widower, married his second wife, Fanny Manieux
- 21 January 1938: Georges died. He is buried his the plot of his first wife: the Génin family
- December 1954: Fanny inaugurated the bust of Georges, sculpted by Renato Carvillani.
- Since 1954, his grave has been cleaned up but never renovated.
After 65 years, the grave has many issues:
- A green stain from the bust has overtaken the grave
- 1 iron post has been stolen a few years ago
- 2 irons posts blew up the stone and fall
- 2 corners of the grave are broken
- 5 iron posts must be treated
- The chains have been stolen many years ago
- The lettering (more than 120 letters) is indistinct
- The bust and the grave need to be cleaned
- The porous stone is damaged.
There are no many places where cinema lovers and fans of Georges could pay tribute to Georges, so his grave in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris is one of them. It’s a very important location where people came to pray, speak to him, ask him good luck for a new movie, courage or to take a little piece of his creativity.
“Each time, it’s a new adventure. I don’t know who is going to be there and what I will find on Georges’ grave. We find letters, flowers, notes, business cards, little gifts, filmstrips, movie tickets, movie programs, drawings,… in Chinese, Greek, French, English, Japanese, German, Italian,…
And we met people. Each time. Magicians from Argentina, movie students from Spain, tourists from United States who loved the movie Hugo, movie producers who want to have a good luck for their next movie,… so many people, so many stories to tell us. It’s very emotional and touching for us to see this link, this love and interest for Georges who died so many years ago.”
Pauline, great great granddaughter of Georges Méliès.
We want to renovate Georges Méliès’ grave at the exact same state than in 1954. We will not add any element.
8 actions must be done:
- Clean up the bust and the grave
- Bus treatment with a layer of wax
- Duplicate 1 iron post
- 5 iron posts must be stripped and repainted
- Replace the 2 missing iron posts into the stone
- Addition of an iron chain around the grave
- Repair the broken stones (2 corners)
- Reengrave the lettering (120 letters.)
In addition, we’re thinking about the future and the maintenance of the grave. So we include 10 years of maintenance into the budget (step 2), with a cleaning and wax treatment for the bust every 2 years.
- One of the greatest magicians of his time
- One of the greatest pioneers of cinema, father of the cinema and special effects
Georges Méliès was born in Paris on December 8, 1861 in a wealthy bourgeois family, third among 2 older brothers. Georges was destined, like his brothers, to take over the torch of the family shoes factory. But, very young, Georges is already curious, sensitive, imaginative, talented for drawing and especially rebel. At 18 years old, his final exam passes after eight years of boarding school at the Imperial lycée of Vanves and then at Lycée Louis le Grand, he wants to integrate the beaux-arts de Paris.
His father says him no... And everything follows …
He leaves for his military service in Blois, homeland of the Great magician Robert-Houdin (from whom Houdini took his name).
In 1884 he was sent to London to take him away from a romantic affair: he discovered the magic of the scene, another romantic affair whose father had not suspected the consequences.
In London, at the Egyptian Hall, he hangs out the greatest magicians of the time: Maskelyne, David Devant,... He learns scene Magic with his great illusions, intricate tangle of double-bottomed traps and truncated perspectives. He has also many relationships in the art world.
In 1885, he returns to Paris, married and performs as an illusionist.
In 1888, his father retires.
Georges leaves the shoe factory to his brothers and at 26 years old takes over the lease and the background of the Robert-Houdin theatre, which he will lead for more than 20 years.
Thanks to his imagination, his drawing talents, his manual mechanical knowledge acquired at his father's factory, he creates and manufactures many illusions, often ending with the projection of photographic views.
In 1891, he founded the Académie de Prestidigitation, which would become in 1904, the French trade union Chamber of Prestidigitation, to assist the Illusionists considered as entertainers.
Between 1888 and 1895, Méliès keeps abreast of abundant news from the world of photography in France, Europe and the United States.
When Antoine Lumière, in December 1895, father of Louis and Auguste, a photographer he knows well, invites him to a public representation of their invention (Lumière cinematograph) at the Grand Café, Méliès is ready: He has already in himself the knowledge and imagination to understand the great tool that he discovers that night. His personal fortune and his theatre will enable him to realize all his ideas.
Méliès wants to buy the camera of the Lumière brothers immediately but Antoine does not want to sell. No future, he would have said for this invention. He then leaves for London to buy William Paul his invention, the Animatographe, which he adapted and transformed into Kinetograph, his first camera of shooting.
Méliès immediately goes on to launch, as of April 1896, on simple subjects: the street, the mother, the family... He put his mark on the Black Star: the "star film" and produced his first films for his theater "The Retraction of a lady at Robert-Houdin".
Very soon Méliès discovered his first tricks and invented the “cinema spectacle” conceived as numbers of shows of illusions.
From 1897, the changes of light during the day and the weather led him to build the first film studio in his property of Montreuil.
From 1897 to 1912, Méliès realizes almost 520 films that are both poetic, fantastic, humorous, the first reports, the first historical or political films, the first advertisements...
He imagines scenarios, he creates new technical processes, he develops the stop trick, multiple exposure, time-laps, dissolves, fades, split screens, dolly shots,… the use of caches and models. He invents and exercises all the professions of cinema and applies to his films methods and processes of shows of Robert-Houdin Theater which are today the fundamental of cinema.
An Artisan using his own financial resources, he finds himself very soon faced with a double challenge: competition from new comedic or realistic genres that appeal to the public and the industrialization of cinema on both sides of the Atlantic.
Gaumont and Pathé moved into the film landscape. Pathé controls 50% of the distribution in Europe and America. The films are no longer sold but are now rented to the meter regardless of the cost of production. Eastman controls the price of film, Rockefeller supports Edison and bank Morgan shoulders the Biograph.
The films of Méliès are victims of plagiarism especially his greatest success “A trip to the Moon” (1902) that is why Georges sends his brother Gaston from 1902 in New York to defend his interests and founded the ' Geo Méliès Star films manufacturing '. The diffusion of his films in the USA and those of his brother Gaston assures him still some income but his financial situation becomes critical.
In 1913 he turned his last film which did not meet the expected success. He closes his two studios.
In 1914, due to war, the Robert-Houdin Theater closes its doors.
He then turns the studio ' B ' of Montreuil into a variety theater. He interprets, with his children (Georgette and André) and many artists more than 100 different roles between 1917 and 1922.
In 1923, he sells his property of Montreuil, all his films were destroyed or sold.
He remarried in 1925 with Jehanne d’Alcy, a former artist of the Robert-Houdin Theater. She is the manager of a toys store at the Gare Montparnasse. In order to survive, Méliès must accept the trade of toy sellers and sweets, 14 hours a day and 7 days a week.
And the world of cinema forgets it... Until 1929, when journalists rediscovered him and organize a gala in his honour in Salle Pleyel. In 1931, Georges Méliès receives the Legion of Honour from the hands of Louis Lumière at the Claridge at a banquet of 800 covered.
He will end his days from 1932 to 1938 with his wife and granddaughter, Madeleine, of which he is responsible, at the Orly Castle, new place of retirement of the mutual of cinema, which he is the first and only resident.
He dies in Paris on 21 January 1938 and was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Georges Méliès is the founding father of cinema, so he pretty invented everything:
- Shot 520 movies
- created the first cinema studio in the world in his backyard
- created cinematographic gender : historical reconstruction, commercials, news, serials,… but also the fantasy and the science-fiction gender
- played himself 320 characters in his own movies. He was the very first movie star in the world
- he was the first in the world to be censored with the series “The Dreyfus affair”.
- he hired and trained his team to be cinematographer, costume designer, machine operator, …
- invented a cinematographic language
- invented a lot of tricks: Stop trick, multiple exposure, time-laps, dissolves, fades, split screens and dolly shots.
He was a conductor. He was at the same time : screenwriter, set designer, operator, actor, casting director, producer, director,… he draws sketches, costumes, tricks, mechanic and he paid extras and actors and all the staff. He is also present to do the development and to sell it to buyers. He was there from an idea on a paper to the screening.
Many movie directors feel a deep connection with him as Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Luc Besson, Michel Gondry, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese,… and many others.
Most recently, Martin Scorsese directed a movie about Georges Méliès: Hugo in 2011, based on Brian Selznick's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Georges Méliès is played by Ben Kingsley and his wife by Helen Mccrory.
Hugo had 11 nominations and won 5 Academy Awards: Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement, and Best Achievement in Art Direction in Visual Effects.
Cinema, special effects schools, streets, places but also artists, awards want to pay tribute to Georges on many different ways.
- (1) Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival - BIFFF trophy in Belgium,
- (2) Visual Effect Society trophy in USA,
- (3) Le Méliès cinema in Montreuil, near Paris, France,
- (4) the group Air who composed a whole album around Méliès,
- (5) The Smashing Pumpkins with their clip Tonight tonight in 1996
- (6) Visual effects school in Sao Paulo in Brazil.
- (1) Georges Méliès Street in Disneyland studio near Paris,
- (2) Queen video clip Heaven for Everyone in 1995 with 3 movies of Méliès: Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), le Voyage à travers l'impossible (1904) and l'Eclipse du Soleil en pleine Lune (1907),
- (3) Tom Hanks and Tcheky Karyo as Georges Méliès in the HBO miniseries From the earth to the moon (1998),
- (4) Georges Méliès French Cultural Center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
- (5) Nicole Kidman and Erwan MacGregor in Moulin Rouge (2001) directed by Baz Luhrman made a reference about Méliès and his moon
- (6) The very first Google Spotlight Stories was about Méliès (may 2018.)
Note: if you need more information about a shipping cost, please make a comment bellow or send us an e-mail (admin (at) thegeorgesmeliesproject.org) and we will give you all the information that you need.
All the backers are invited to come and have a chat with Pascal & Pauline (great grandson and great great granddaughter) during the inauguration day at the Père Lachaise cemetery. They will be able to see the grave renovated thanks to the crowdfunding and a few members of Georges’ family will be there to thank them in person and answer to their questions.
Date and practical information will be given later on.
14,8 cm x 10,5 cm
- Wood black pencil
- Dimension: 18 cm
- Baked enamelled pins specially designed by Lolita Picco for this project
- Items conditioned to unit on a card and in a little plastic envelope
- - The signature: 3,8 cm x 2 cm
- - The studio: 4,3 cm x 2,5 cm.
8 cm x 5,5 cm
Three different reprinted posters from the end of the 19th century. The posters are in its original size and were proposed as adds for Rober-Houdin theater magic shows. Georges Méliès was the director and owner of the theater between 1888 and 1913 and he created and designed many of the magic shows. The address of the theater was at “8, boulevard des italiens” in Paris.
- Le Nain Jaune: 80 cm x 60 cm
- Les farces de la lune: 80 cm x 60 cm
- La source enchantée drawn by Georges Méliès: 80 cm x 60 cm
- Tote bag without handles: 38 cm x 42 cm
- Handles: 31 cm
- Hand embroidered brooches designed by Macon & Lesquoy for this project.
- Items conditioned to unit in a black cardboard box.
- -The rocket: 4,8 cm x 3,2 cm
- - The mermaid: 5,9 cm x 2,8 cm
- A5 stitched binding recycled cardboard notebook. 40 sheets with lined recycled paper.
- An original Méliès’ drawing is buffered on the cover.
- Dimension: 17,7 cm x 21 cm.
White resin 3D moon specially designed by the great great grandson of Georges Méliès: Antoine. This 3 items are a personal and realistic interpretation from famous film “A trip to the moon.”
- Little moon: diameter 6,5 cm
- Medium moon: diameter 9 cm
- Large moon: diameter 13,8 cm.
Designed with a hook system for an easy wall hanging.
- Duration: 2 hours + Free visit in the Grévin Museum.
- Dates: 2 dates must be defined (during the same week-end: 1 on a Saturday and 1 on a Sunday)
- Group: 2 groups each one with 5 participants
- Ticket: the backer can be accompanied by a person of his choice
- Limited reward: 5
The guided tour will bring you in the streets of Paris, where Georges spend his childhood, where he worked, studied, had fun, met his lovers,… accompanied with a digital tablet with a lot of pictures and videos and told by his great great granddaughter, Pauline.
An exciting trip into the life and the world of the father of cinema that will ended with a coffee in a famous Brasserie and a free visit in the Grévin Museum (where you can stay as long as you want.)
- A true bronze lost wax casted moon specially designed by the great great grandson of Georges Méliès: Antoine. This sculpture is hanged on an engraved plexiglas display.
- This unique and rare item is proposed in a very limited edition: 7 copies.
- Dimension: 12 cm x 10 cm.
- A set of 4 to 6 successive frames from a fragmented original cellulose nitrate film: “le diable géant ou le Miracle de la Madone, 1901.” This filmstrip is sealed into an engraved plexiglas display.
- This unique and rare item is proposed in a very limited edition: 7 copies.
- Dimension: 15 cm x 10 cm.
We shared a lot of e-mails with the cemeteries department of the city of Paris.
- 1° First step, to know how does it work, what will be all the administratice actions, what are the rules for a protected site as the Père Lechaise cemetery.
- 2° Find our contractors: ask quotes from a list delivered by the city of Paris
- 3° Keep the 3 best contractors and ask them a lot of details
- 4° Select 2 contractors: 1 for the grave and 1 for the letters engraving.
- 5° Have a meeting with the conservator of the Père Lachaise cemetery.
- 6° Writte a file according to the rule of the city of Paris
- 7° Our file is reviewed by an architecture committee
- 8° It’s a success. We have all the permits to start the renovation.
- 9° Now, we need you to reach the budget .
Illae company, based in Paris (France) specialized in renovation and conservation of monuments and sites.
Illae is regularly working with the Père Lachaise cemetery and other protected monuments
3 intervenors for this renovation:
- 1 monument conservator
- 1 sculpture restorer
- 1 metal restorer (Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF label.)
Victor Bert, engraver, Lettering & Sign Designer
He is an expert in engraving based in Paris (France.) On Georges’ grave, we have 370 letters. It will take 8 days to reengrave all the letters.
To have great rewards, we worked with 2 amazing designers. For all the other rewards, it’s reprints or designed by our little fingers.
Marie Macon and Anne-Laure Lesquoy have been doing through their collections of accessories since 2009. By distorting the process of embroidery, they both imagined embroidered brooches using the “cannetille” technique. The cannetille method uses a fine wire coiled around a needle to form tendrils that are cut and stitched onto the fabric just like beads. The cannetille is made in Pakistan, since the metal industry there is very developed.
Marie & Anne-Laure created 2 original brooches inspired by the world of Méliès.
- One from the movie “a Trip to the moon” (1902)
- And the other, the mermaid, from “The Mermaid” (1904)
Lolita is an illustrator, graphic designer and designer who is located in south of France. Her label, Lolita Picco, was born in 2012.
Lolita designed for this project 2 enameled pins:
- 1 inspired by Georges’ signature
- 1 inspired by Georges studio where he shot all his films.
The Grévin Museum in Paris provides 10 tickets for the reward: the guided tour.
The Georges Méliès project is hold by a part of the direct descendants of Georges Méliès. Georges had two children, a girl Georgette and thirteen years later, a boy Andre. We are the descendants of Andre: his grandson Pascal and his great grand daughter Pauline.
“Georges is the grandfather of my grandmother. We talk to Georges as a mischievous and bubbly uncle we’ve never met. It’s not like he died 46 years before I was born. I feel very close to him, to his life, to his universe, to his way to think and create. I love him deeply.
I started to see his movies when I was a little girl. I don’t even remember the first time.
I’m the fourth generation in the family to promote and defend his work. It’s a very hard job.
For living, I’m a cultural advisor. This project is just the beginning, I want to do more for Georges. I want him to be part of the 21st century and more people around the world share his poetry, his freshness and his endless love for creation.”
Pauline, great great granddaughter of Georges Méliès.
We need Kickstarter for 2 reasons:
- First, we can’t provide this enormous amount of money. We need the support from Georges fans and we, his family, don’t doubt that he is still loved and that he is not forgotten.
- Second reason is that we want to show everyone that Georges Méliès is still alive and that has still an influence today.
- mail: admin (at) thegeorgesmeliesproject.org
- Website: www.thegeorgesmeliesproject.org
- Facebook page: The Georges Méliès project
- Twitter: The Georges Méliès project
- Instagram: @pauline_brolekes
Risks and challenges
We hope to have help and support from cinema lovers and fans of Georges Méliès.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)