Short Film Palme d’or | 2019
Agnès Patron: "It became like new territory to explore and it appears as the best way for me to express my emotions and feelings."
AND THEN THE BEAR | French 15’
That very night, houses will burn. Men and women will tremble. Hordes of children will come together and howl as they dance alone on the ashes like wild bears. It only takes one cry to awaken them all from their slumber!
Hi Agnès, it's great to talk to you again, how's everything going?
Hi! Everything is going very well! Thanks a lot for this interview!
What does it mean to be at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival with And Then The Bear?
It will be the first screening of the film so it means a lot to me. Plus Cannes film festival is a very symbolic place for all filmmakers so I’m very very honoured!
And Then The Bear is shortlisted for the Short Film Palme d’or, does this add any extra pressure on you?
No, I just feel very lucky!
Will you get any nerves ahead of the festival or are you just taking it all in your stride?
I will try to just take it all in my stride!
What goes through your mind when your screening at a festival?
It changed a lot from my first film to this one: for « Widow Caillou », my graduation film, I almost apologized to be there. With « Chulyen, a crow’s tale » I discovered the pleasure to show a very strange and crazy work to people and because I co-directed the film (with Cerise Lopez) I felt stronger. During the making of « And then the bear », there was a very good team working on the script, the images, the sound, the music, so when I watch the film I remember all these talented people who helped me to bring my ideas to life. For all these reasons I think I will be terribly proud to screen this film!
Can you tell me a little bit about And Then The Bear, how did this film come about?
This film came about when I was working on « Chulyen a crow’s tale », I had these images of a child and a bear, of fires burning villages. Like my other films, it was more about sensations, snatches of memories... In the same time, I became a mother. The film grew up with my son.
"I discovered so many animated films, so different ways to tell stories."
What was the inspiration behind this film?
The most simple answer would be my son and my own childhood. To go a bit further, I will quote a friend of mine who told me this: it’s not only a film about a child but it’s a film about everyone’s inner child. Above all, I wanted to express all the anger I could feel at this point in my life. This anger was very related to my own childhood, and my son was echoing to all this because he was driven by some crazy and outrageous feelings most of the time. To help me with all this, I worked for the first time with a scriptwriter, Johanna Krawczyk, and it was a very instinctive collaboration.
What was the most challenging part of bringing And Then The Bear to life?
The moment I was the most challenged was the time we started the sound mixing. Surprisingly, I was very proud of the images of the film, probably because I shared animation and painting with talented people (two animators at my side and two painters). I also loved the music, composed by Pierre Oberkampf and recorded in La Chaise Dieu with very good musicians, before we started animation and painting. But the sound mixing the film was very challenging. I discovered that you can ruin your film in three days just because you don’t work with someone who you are able to communicate with on an equal footing. To my relief, Sacrebleu (my producers) helped me to find someone who started a new sound mixing almost from the ground.
What was the most valuable lesson you've taken from making this film?
Always follow my intuition, almost like a wild animal.
Have you always had a passion for animation?
Like a lot of children I’ve been watching cartoons in the morning, Walt Disney and Miyazaki Features. But, during my studies at EnsAD (Ecole Nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris), I discovered so many animated films, so different ways to tell stories. It became like new territory to explore and it appears as the best way for me to express my emotions and feelings.
How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut film?
It changed a lot! But it feels more like a slow transition through the years than a brutal change.
Is there any advice you've been given that's stuck with you?
Oh! I’ve been given a lot of advice from my studies to now and almost all of them are really helpful. Maybe...A teacher told me once: only one problem at a time. I like this advice very much!
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
I don’t! There are so many ways to make movies...
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from And Then The Bear?
I hope that people will go back home feeling that something wild, precious and beautiful remains inside them.