Michèle Fines: “If I don’t take risks, I’m bored”

the essential
Serial killers, terrorism, the secret services, unsolved cases: these are the worlds in which Michèle Finès immerses herself to create her documentaries.

Who could have imagined that Michèle Fines would become a documentary director for TF1, France 2, W9, M6… This farmer’s daughter, originally from Saverdun, in Ariège, very early on discovered an exclusive passion for news items. So much so that today, when she is not investigating the spies (the mole Farewell, KGB agent), she reopens the closed cases (the murder of Christelle Blétry in 1997, elucidated 18 years later) or ventures in the footsteps of serial killers like Emile Louis, Louis Forton or more recently Michel Fourniret, on whom she is always looking for unpublished testimonies.

For each of her cases, Michèle Fines goes back to the files, does her own analysis to look for new clues, show the faults of justice and explore new avenues. “I love to be useful, to change the course of things, to elucidate cases, to unravel secrets”, she announces, the eye that sparkles.

Michèle Fines has been independent since 2013, after having worked for 25 years in newsrooms: at the old Cinq, France 2 and TF1. Today, she is the one who carries out the pre-surveys, the filming and the editing of her documentaries. “I am completely free,” she savored.

Passed by Fermat

Michèle Fines was born in Toulouse, at the Teinturiers clinic, on February 28, 1964. After a literary baccalaureate, she joined the khâgne section at the Fermat high school. But after the first year, she turns back. At 14, the teenager had already made the choice to become a journalist and did not budge “but did not know which path to take”, to achieve it, because of her social status and her rural origins. “Saverdun was a hole where nothing was happening. I left very early. At 17 for Toulouse and 18 for Paris,” she sums up.

On the advice of a history professor, she took the Sciences-Po Paris competitive examination, which she obtained on the second attempt. As part of these studies, she will do an internship at La Dépêche “in Foix, then in Narbonne”. In 1986, she joined the training center for journalists (CFJ), in Paris, “in the same promotion as David Pujadas” then cut her teeth at the Cinq, “a super school”. In this writing, the legal columnist Paul Lefevre and the “hyper talented” journalist Jean-Louis Calderon communicate to him the virus of the various facts. When the channel closed in 1992, Michèle Fines joined Antenne 2. In 1995, she covered the attacks in the Paris metro and witnessed the spectacular capture of Khaled Kelkal, the bomber. “Crazy stuff,” she recalls. It is also her first direct confrontation with terrorism, an area in which she will take an interest. After 8 years at France 2, Michèle Fines is on the front page, to work for the magazine “7 à 8”.

But a year later, she returned to the 2, recalled by her fellow student, David Pujadas, who took the 20 hours. She gave in and in 2001, after the New York attacks, the channel sent her to Afghanistan. “It was my first big mission abroad. I entered Kabul at the same time as the allies, after the departure of the Taliban, a historic moment, I cried about it,” she says.

A year later, TF1 calls her back. She returned there to stay for 10 years. Then in 2010, she was refused the post of assistant editor, she slammed the door. It then integrates a production box and switches to the production of long formats. Since 2013, Michèle Fines has been a freelance documentary director. “I came back to police affairs – justice, in other words areas where I have real competence”.

A woman of heart and character, both positive and cash, this mother of a 24 year old boy is running on adrenaline. “If I don’t take risks, I’m bored,” she said.

Today, even if she often returns to Saverdun, and shows herself very invested in the safeguard of the family inheritance, Michèle Fines feels Parisian above all. “My life is here, all my friends too”. When she looks back on her career, she admits having benefited “from positive discrimination without knowing it. At the CFJ, the teachers gave me the notes because I was part of their quota” daughter of farmers “. ‘learned, I was frankly annoyed. Afterwards, I found that it was good because I did not have the tools to succeed in this environment. The fact that they helped me was important “, concludes -she.