Untitled-1.png

17th ÉCU
The European Independent Film Festival 2022 

8th - 10th April 2022 
Interview

Benoît Monney 
Action 

Section: European Comedy Film
ecufilmfestival.com

On a film set, there are always unforeseen events. Some days, it’s all there is. And sometimes it’s even worse.

 

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

Thanks for the opportunity!

Two years ago, I was in Kyiv for the shoot of the feature film “Olga”, directed by Elie Grappe. The film tells the story of a young gymnast who struggles between her dreams and the war going on in her country. We met talented and amazing people there. What’s happening there now is heartbreaking. I really hope the situation improves quickly.

 

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

I also work as a 1st assistant director. Work never really stopped working except during lockdown. We finished shooting a feature two weeks ago. After those intense three months of shoot, I needed some time off. I went to my childhood countryside and spent time there, in the woods, recovering and taking pictures of animals.

 

Congratulations on having Action part of the 17th ÉCU Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be screening your film in Paris?

Thanks! It’s great to have our French premiere in the capital itself.

 

Can you tell me how Action came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay and what was the message you wanted to convey with this film?

Working as a 1st assistant director, you observe life on a film set. The characters and situations in our short film are of course cartoonish, but they all have a real inspiration.

Making a film is a team effort. Tensions are part of the job. But in the end, it works out – or it doesn’t.

 

When working on a film like this how close are you able to keep to your script once you start filming, do you allow yourself much flexibility?

I feel that flexibility is key. Actors and crew members must have the opportunity to bring ideas to the table. This having been said, with Action, we had to stay close to our script because of the single take. Everybody had to know exactly what was going to happen. We had one rehearsal day where script and movements were adjusted and the next day, we shot it.

Action_poster.jpg

"Some people learn in schools, others start directly shooting short films. Some start at 5 years old, others at 80. Follow your path."

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

The single take was the main challenge by far. The biggest part of the job – as often – was pre-production. But we were really lucky, found an amazing cast and crew, the perfect location and the weather was with us. It was nice and easy.

I’m really happy with the film even though it was sometimes frustrating in post-production because of this single take, which meant no possibility of editing.

 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

Watching behind the scenes of the Lord of the Rings with a friend when I was around 15. We were absolutely fascinated and started making shorts.

 

How much has your approach to filmmaking evolved since your debut film?

I learn a lot as a director, but also as a 1st assistant director because I have the opportunity to observe other directors, learn what’s working, what’s not. It gives me keys to evolve and try to be a better director.

 

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

Yes and no. It’s important that some people push the boundaries to make the audiences dream bigger. But at the same time, beauty lies in the simplest of things.

 

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

Find your own way. Some people learn in schools, others start directly shooting short films. Some start at 5 years old, others at 80. Follow your path. Make the most of your mistakes.

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Action?

Laughter, joy and rage.