30th FID Marseille | 2019
"We were also interested in the visual aesthetics of Rodger’s youtube channel, the paradoxical mix between the sunny Californian landscapes and the terrifying content of his speeches."
ATTACK THE SUN | Dir. Gwendal Sartre & Fabien Zocco | Comepétition INTERNATONALE
Première Mondiale / World Premiere
It is a perfect match for the film, whose atmosphere is haunted by the delusive machine that is Los Angeles, always in Hollywood’s shadow, like the blinding reflection of a dazzling city.
Hey guys how are you doing?
We’re fine! And very happy to show our film to a large audience during the FID festival.
Are you looking forward to bringing Attack the sun to FID 2019?
Yes, for sure! We know it’s a great opportunity for the project.
Gwendal you are no stranger to FID having been part of FID in 2012 with Song Song, what does this festival mean to you?
The trust and the fidelity of a festival such as the FID Marseille is really precious. And having a view on his work is essential for an artist. It’s a pleasure to go back to the FID once again.
This will be your World Premiere and Attack the sun is part of the French Competition, does this add any extra pressure on you?
First of all, we are expecting to confront the film to the spectators. And it’s already very important for us to be part of the selection. We’ll see later concerning the result of the competition!
Do you still get nerves ahead of your screening? How would you describe your visual style?
Each screening is a singular experience. We were inspired by very different things for the image as well as for the text. Some points are more significative: the youtube aesthetics and the way that YouTube film their intimacy, the singular texture of the digital image and its inherent bugs. We also have imagined the film as the dark side of the hedonist universe of a sitcom that would happen in Beverly Hills.
Can you tell me a little bit about Attack the sun, what can we expect?
Attack the sun crosses a classical cinematographic approach with a digital process that parasites the writing of the film: an artificial intelligence participated to the creation of the dialogues and strongly influenced how these dialogues were put in images. This method instantiates a strong visual/textual deconstruction that traduces the psychological decomposition of the main character. The global result constitutes a singular cinematographic object!
What was the inspiration behind this film?
Once we have defined the principle of the « collaboration » with this artificial intelligence, we looked for a story that could fit with the concept. We discovered the case of Elliot Rodger, a young Californian YouTuber who killed 6 people before committing suicide in 2014. Elliot Rodger published a large number of videos of himself declaiming his irrational hate against women. We were struck by the strange language he used in these videos, which was close to the semantical matter generated by our own digital system. We were also interested in the visual aesthetics of Rodger’s youtube channel, the paradoxical mix between the sunny Californian landscapes and the terrifying content of his speeches. That’s why we decided to take Rodger as the main inspiration for our character: It was interesting for us to see how the machine could depict the disintegration of a human psyche. But Rodger’s story is just an inspiration, we remained free with the real facts, the film is absolutely not an adaption or a biopic.
"We are very different but very complimentary at the same time."
Your main character Steven Moran is interesting in the way he’s affected by Los Angeles how did you go about creating this character?
As we said earlier, it’s, first of all, a fictional character, inspired by Elliot Rodger but not only. In one sense Steven Moran is born at the meeting point between the work of Thomas Ducasse (the actor who incarnates him in the film) and the machine we have created. Thomas has improvised a lot during the filming, because of the constraints inherent to the machine. Steven Moran results mainly of his own propositions.
What was the most challenging part of bringing this film to life?
Several points were very challenging - as well as exciting! The imbrication of our two respective conceptions of writing in order to create a single object, the long process of the edition after the filming, and the French translation of the strange sentences generated by the artificial intelligence and pronounced by the actors!
As co-directors what has the process been like working together on this film?
First of all, we are very close friends. And our specific tasks were clearly defined and distinguished at the beginning of the project, so we just had to respect our respective roles in the process.
How important is the collaborative nature in filmmaking for you?
We trust each other in order to result in something that satisfies both of us. That’s the most important.
How different is this film to your previous works?
It’s very different for each of us. Concerning Fabien, it is his first cinematographic project, as he is usually mainly working in the field of digital arts and robotic sculpture. But all of his previous works involved also digital processes as a creative way of writing. Concerning Gwendal, he had to compose with the surprises created by this strange digital device. But the specific process of Attack the Sun allowed us to go further in our respective way of working. It helped us a lot. We are very different but very complimentary at the same time.
Has your approach to your film changed much since your debut film?
For both of us, each project brings new research problems and questions, whether it’s a film or not. We want to renew ourselves each time.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
We love cinema a lot. Of course, filmmaking is a very important part in the work of Gwendal, while cinema was only an inspiration source in Fabien’s creations before Attack the Sun. But for us, this project was a desire of cinema we wanted to share and show to the audience.
Looking back is there anything you would like to do differently or change?
Not really… Anyway, we can’t change anything.
Do you have any advice for any emerging filmmaker?
We still consider ourselves an "emerging filmmaker". For the others, we just say, keep the faith.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?