17th ÉCU
The European Independent Film Festival 2022 

8th - 10th April 2022 
Interview

Alexandre Desane
The Orange Child 
Section: European Dramatic Short 
ecufilmfestival.com

When he was a child, Wilnor didn't see himself as being black, because of his light skin he thought that he was seen as an Orange child. As an Actor today, Wilnor is still conflicted because being Black also means t

 

Hey Alexandre, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

 

Overthinking too much at home was not a life goal but I’m doing good now.

 

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

I shot the film in mid-February 2020, one month later, in France, we had our first lockdown. I learned how to make pixel art animations for the film and because of the lockdown I had plenty of time to try several styles of animation. It was a calm time to test things in editing.

 

Congratulations on having The Orange Child, which is your debut short film as writer/director, part of the 17th ÉCU Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be screening your film in Paris?

 

I wanted to have a screening in Paris from the moment I was happy with the editing of the film. The festival run started in Barcelona, went to the States, Germany, Colombia and last but not least I’m closing this run with my hometown Paris. 

 

Can you tell me how The Orange Child came about, what was the inspiration behind this film and what was the message you wanted to convey with it?

 

"The Orange Child" is based on my childhood, my life and my experiences as an actor. Born and raised in France, unlike my parents I’ve faced racism as a kid. How racism and stereotypes are perceived as a kid, and through time until becoming an adult? How does a Black kid see himself? Is it more important than how others kids see him? 


There is this scene in the middle of the film where the character Wilnor is listing movie auditions where he can apply to, and organising them by the level of cliché. This is not what I do in real life, but all these auditions I’m reading out loud are real. I would like to insist on the singularity of the story, it is one story of one black man, it is not representative of all the black people's experiences.  


How flexible did you allow yourself and the cast with the script once you started shooting and how much has your background as an actor helped you on this project?

 

It was a three-day shooting, so we didn’t have much time for text improvisation. It’s easier for me as an actor to direct actors, I know exactly what to tell them. 

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing The Orange Child to life and looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

 

I had underestimated how directing kids could be at the same time great and scary. It’s great because they don’t think, they enjoy playing characters. First takes are always perfect, they are having fun, they never look at the camera and they are full of energy! At the same time, it can be scary when you are not satisfied with the lights, the sound, and the more you spend time on a scene, the more kids get tired… A kid who is tired on a set is not a situation to take lightly, you have to be patient and keep your smile up even if the sun is going down and you only have 2 minutes left to shoot.

orange_child_en_3000h.png

"In deep introspection he sought some answers and found his childhood computer, he explores a video game he started creating when he was 11 years old."

Where did this passion for filmmaking come from? 

 

I’m a photographer and a dancer too, I started to take pictures of my dancing crew, then videos to see our mistakes. One thing led to another I wanted to experiment with narrative forms, I’ve directed a dance short film called beatboxe. Later I had this desire to become an actor, I don’t like to wait after people so filmmaking was a great opportunity for me to write roles I dreamed to portrait.

 

What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making The Orange Child?

Being able to do it. It’s very easy to have a lot of ideas, a lot of projects, but to make a film is something else, my most valuable lesson would be (making this idea a reality). 

 

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?

 

Not necessarily, I think every filmmaker should do what they truly think is good for their film, to be honest with the story to tell.

 

For anyone out there thinking about getting into filmmaking do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

 

Watch a lot of films, old films, from every country. And then, try and fail a lot. My film is not perfect, I’m a self-taught filmmaker, I’m learning every day.

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from The Orange Child?

 

There are several ways to tell stories, find yours. That he will only get roles that portray negative racial stereotypes of Black men. In deep introspection he sought some answers and found his childhood computer, he explores a video game he started creating when he was 11 years old.