17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Producer and director who is also co-founder of Arpent Films, a Montreal-based production company.
Hi Guillaume thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?
Yeess! Everything is packed! I'm ready to be in Berlin and enjoy a short break from the Canadian winter.
Do you still get nerves before a major festival like this?
It depends. When you're showing your film for the first time, you're wondering how the public is going to react to it and your brain is thinking about so many things: is the DCP okay? Did we make a mistake in the subtitles?
In the case of Berlinale Talents, I'm more excited than nervous. I'm here to learn and to have fun.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
Two years ago, I was at Berlinale Shorts with a short film, The Crying Conch directed by Canadian-Mauritian filmmaker Vincent Toi, and it was such a rewarding experience. I feel so lucky to be part of this year's edition. Also, we have a great Canadian delegation in many categories at the festival!
How important are opportunities like this for filmmakers?
The development phase of a film can be so loooong. So, to be on the festival circuit and to attend events like these, it's a great opportunity for filmmakers to meet other filmmakers from so many different countries on the planet. It's all about sharing and learning from each others experiences.
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, what was it filmmaking that interested you so much?
I like to be surrounded by creative people and to be challenged by them. I enjoy the journey, from the sparkle of an idea to the end of the process when the film is being screened in front of a public. Filmmaking is quite a ride. You go through so many emotions and each time, you learn so much.
"I love moving image I think it’s the ultimate art-form."
What are some of the themes you explore in your work?
As a filmmaker, I've explored complex love relationships and different power dynamics.
Now, my new projects are exploring family dynamics, relationships between brothers and sisters. I've discovered that I have a lot to talk about..!
How did Arpent Films come about?
My producing partner is Marion Duhaime. She's a brilliant director-producer and we've been learning from each other since the beginning of Arpent Films.
When we graduated from university, we realized that no one was waiting for us. We had to create our own opportunities. We started to apply for grants and making films, even without funding. It was born out of necessity.
As a filmmaker do you ever find yourself getting too attached to your films?
Every film that I've written are personal. But, once it's on paper, it becomes a conversation between me and the audience who will eventually watch the film. Doesn't matter the size of the public, I'm talking to someone so no, I've learned to care for my project but to accept that they don't belong to me once it's out there.
Since getting into filmmaking what have been some of the challenges you've faced?
What challenges didn't I face? Ahah. Filmmaking isn't cheap. It cost a lot of money and you need other people to make your film idea become a reality. The biggest challenges are human - you learn how to communicate, you learn how to work with people - and financial - you have to accept that you need to pay the rent and live your life. Don't hide in a cave. You'll run out of subjects quickly.
How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking?
It's everything. It's the reason why I make films. I love working with actors and actresses and I enjoy finding solutions with my crew. If you treat them with respect, give them the space they need and trust them, they will give you so much more and the film will only get better.
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
I was 25 when I started to produced films. I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't know anything. I just wanted to help my friends to make their films because I loved them and understood their vision and wanted the world to see their films. Since then, I made many mistakes, but each time I've learned and grown from them. I think I am more confident now than ever but each film is different and it comes with different challenges. I guess it's like anything, if you have enough opportunities to learn, then you'll get better at it.
What are you currently working on?
So far, 2019 is looking good.
I'm currently in pre-production for Aniksha, directed by Vincent Toi (The Crying Conch), a short film that will be shot in Mauritius in the Spring.
This summer, we will be filming a coming-of-age film called Sweet Violence by Katerine Martineau (Waiting for Lou) and hopefully, we'll be filming Smile Lady by Marion Duhaime (Where Do Cats Go After 9 Lives?), a dramedy about a woman who decides to go to a spiritual retreat.
This Fall will see the release of Me Without You, a 65 minutes film that I've directed. The film follows a group of friends over a year.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into filmmaking?
Don't compare yourself to others. Create your own path, be humble, surround yourself with friends, make mistakes, learn from them. It's a long journey so you need to embrace all the small victories.