Mr. Ríchet's debut feature film, État des lieux (Condition of Premises), created a sensation in France. It was shot on a budget of $20,000 - the writer/director's winnings after successfully gambling his unemployment wages at a local casino. An unflinching depiction of blue-collar life, the film was based on his own first-hand knowledge of growing up in the projects. Wide critical acclaim ensued, and Mr. Ríchet earned a César Award (France's equivalent of the Academy Awards) nomination for Best First Feature. État des lieux was screened at film festivals worldwide, including the Avoriaz Film Festival, the Sarasota Film Festival, the Avignon/NY Film Festival, and the Montreal Film Festival. The film was also honored with the 1996 Cyril Collard Award.
AP13 producer Pascal Caucheteux teamed with Mr. Ríchet to produce the writer/director's next two films, Ma 6-T va crack-er (Crack City) and De l'amour (About Love), starring Virginie Ledoyen. Both films garnered favorable reviews, and the former screened at the 1997 Cannes International Film Festival (in the Cinemas en France section), the 1997 Stockholm Film Festival, and the 1997 Chicago Film Festival. In addition to writing and directing them, Mr. Ríchet edited his first three features.
Ma 6-T va crack-er was steeped in rap music and so launched Mr. Ríchet on a second successful career, as a music producer. The film's soundtrack went gold, as did the next album he produced, with French rap artists 2 Bal - 2 Neg. The latter stands as one of the country's most successful rap album debuts of all time. Mr. Ríchet has branched out to produce albums for such top U.S. hip-hop artists such as KRS-One, B-Real from Cypress Hill, Afrika Bambaataa, Guru from Gangstarr, Mobb Deep, Ras-Kass, and Eric Sermon.
He was born in Meaux, France. He was raised, with a brother and sister, by a single mother in one of the projects surrounding Paris. He left school at an early age and worked at a series of low-paying jobs before realizing his dream of becoming a filmmaker.
Jean-François Ríchet Facts