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Film Interview

Jérémy Comte

Originally published during SUNDANCE Film Festival 2018 

Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer...


Hey Jérémy, Happy New Year and for talking to TNC, any resolutions broken yet?


Happy New Year and Thank you! Haha, no broken resolutions yet. I had to stay in bed since I had a recent Motorbike accident in Ghana before the Christmas break. It’s all going better and I’m really looking forward to 2018.


When you're releasing a new film do you ever get nervous?


Of course. I get so deep into the process that sometimes it is hard for me to look at my films with distance when they are about to be released. I can easily focus on the small flaws. I’m very proud of “Fauve” though since I took a lot of time to make it.


As the festival builds up are you able to relax and enjoy the process?

Since I had this motorbike accident, I have no choice but to take care of myself and rest. I’m working on the writing of my first feature film in the meantime, so that’s what I want to concentrate on before the festival. I’m very excited about Sundance, I’ll probably get nervous when I get there.

What does it mean for you to be having your World Premiere at Sundance 2018?

It’s a beautiful opportunity for meeting new collaborators and presenting my film in front of everyone. Sundance has been one of the festivals I’ve always dreamt of being a part of, I really enjoy the films that come out of it. I have been working on this film for years and it was such great news to know it was selected at Sundance. I’m happy it found an audience there.


Tell me a little bit about Fauve, what can we expect?

It’s a film that explores childhood in its raw form, through naivety and cruelty. I really like to engage the spectators on a deep emotional level, so I wanted the film to be intense and visceral.​

What was the inspiration behind the film?


It started when I was a young boy, about the same age as the protagonists of my film. In that period, I had many recurrent nightmares about sinking in quicksand. I guess I saw it a lot during that time in films and TV shows. I would imagine myself visiting an old mine with my father on a rainy day and encountering quicksand, being so afraid to fall in it. This memory visited me throughout all my life, without paying too much attention to it. On a rainy muddy day some years ago, I was running in the countryside and the memory popped into my mind again. This time I decided to hold onto it and transform it into a short film exploring elements of my childhood.


In writing your script did you have any apprehensions about it becoming somewhat self-reflective?


I think, as a writer, you always write about yourself in some ways. I feel it needs to be self-reflective to be able to create genuine and relatable work. It’s through vulnerability that the characters and story take their dimensions and depth.


What was the most challenging aspect of bringing Fauve to life?

I guess my biggest fear was to work with young actors, especially because it demands complex acting and challenging emotions. I was afraid to not be able to find the right fit. Early enough in the process, we knew that we had to go find the boys in rural Quebec. After seeing 70 boys, I found the two perfect kids for the story. I was relieved. Later on, I adapted the script closer to their genuine personality.


Have you always had a passion for film?

Since I was eleven years old, it’s always been very clear to me that I wanted to be a film director. I’ve been through a lot of stages; successes and failures, but my love towards film always stayed pretty solid.


What was the first film you saw that made you want to get into filmmaking?

It started as early as when I was about five to six years old. I was obsessively watching Fantasia, the 1940 original version. I fell in love with the stories, the colours, the classical music and especially the pieces by Tchaikovsky. This film had a huge impact on my life and it still does.


How much has your approach to filmmaking changed since you first started out?

It changed drastically. At first, I was very driven by aesthetics. I started out with skateboard films, then documentaries, music videos and fiction. I always wanted to do fiction, but I wasn’t ready for it. I had to explore more. Through my documentaries, I learned about the power of a good story. It created a shift in me from aesthetic to story. This knowledge ultimately transferred to fiction. 


How important is the collaborative process of filmmaking for you?


It is everything. Without collaborators, you have no film. As a director, I need to have a strong vision but remain open. I want to include every crew member on the same level and work with their strengths. By collaborating with people, a film becomes richer.


Do you have any advice you would offer any up and coming filmmakers? 


Everyone is so different and unique, and there is no right way to make films. If you love cinema, it will find a way. For me, it was always about remaining open and experimenting, getting out of my comfort zone. My travels around the globe taught me a lot about my style and vision. You need to find the thing that sparks inside you.


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


Ultimately, I hope some people will be able to relate or see themselves in the characters or the story. I’ve always been interested in the human condition and the mystery of life, so I hope they will be able to see that in my film. 

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