Raindance Film Festival 2020
The Yellow Dress
Raphael, an eccentric 10 year-old, enjoys wearing and designing dresses in rural France. Against the backdrop of the lush lavender fields of Provence, Raphael steals yellow fabrics in the hope of creating a dress for his mother; a gesture he believes will bring about the healing his family so desperately needs.
Hi Alex thank you for talking to TNC, how are you held up during these very strange times? Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?
It’s been difficult, but as a writer it’s been beneficial. Forced to lock myself away in my house for days, even months, has been somewhat of a driving force to write, write, and write even more than I thought was possible.
Congratulations on having The Yellow Dress selected for this year's Raindance Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
I’m incredibly honoured to be apart of Raindance 2020. Having followed the festival for many years, being an official selection is a privilege.
This will be your UK Premiere, does that add any additional pressure on you?
No. If anything, it’s that much more exciting!
Can you tell me a little bit about The Yellow Dress, how did this film come about?
I started writing The Yellow Dress the summer after I graduated from uni in Paris. And going into this process, I knew I wanted to create a young protagonist who explored his right of expression and the world of women’s clothing. As I kept developing this character, I knew I wanted him to be in control of his own narrative. I didn’t want him reacting to conflicts that were imposed on his freedom of wearing dresses.
Regarding the inspiration for my story, I find that after forming a deeper connection with my characters, that they are the ones in charge of the narrative and end up writing the story. All I have to do is listen, respond, and write.
As a filmmaker do you ever draw from you over experiences or become inspired by people you meet?
All the time. I think anyone must always draw on experience when applying themselves to any story they’re trying to tell.
"I was able to me the entire film and edit it together before any of the camera equipment was even rented."
What would you say has been the most valuable lessons you have ten from ming this film?
That ming films is hard. It was my first shoot in the midst of a crew that grew above 30 individuals. Running a set with that amount of bodies is a skill within itself. Feeling like you have full control of an entire film set is one of the greatest feelings in the world as a filmmakers.
How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking to you?
I find the collaboration process with my actors the most vital. At the end of the day, the audience forms a relationship with the characters they follow on screen. If they don’t feel real, the audience will tend to lose faith in the storytelling. I believe the more I listen to my actors, the more nuanced my work becomes.
Do you like to be flexible once a film is shooting or do you prefer to stick to your script as it is?
I tend to stick to my shooting script almost word for word. However, I prioritise pre-production just as much as the shoot. In fact, I shot the entire film on my phone with my DOP on location and rehearsed each individual scene extensively before we began production. In other words, I was able to me the entire film and edit it together before any of the camera equipment was even rented.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
When I moved to Paris! I enrolled in the film studies program at The American University of Paris, picked up a camera, and just began shooting everything. I made a lot of minute films about “n’importe qoui”. Films that mean nothing to anyone else but me. The more I shot, the more I found my passion for the craft of cinema.
Has your style/approach to your films changed much since your debut short?
I think I’ve grown a lot over the years as a filmmaking and will continue to do so. I like to think of my process as evolving opposed to changing.
"It’s very rock n’ roll— which is great."
Do you think filmmakers should push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Are there any tips or pieces of wisdom you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
You need to work hard. You need to hustle. It’s not as glamorous as you think. It’s very rock n’ roll— which is great.
And finally, what do you hope people will te away from The Yellow Dress?
How powerful the act of persevering can be.