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Cannes
Short Film Corner 2022 
 
Interview

Kashif Alvi
BEAU GESTE 
May 10th, 2022

The tensions between Vietnamese-American siblings boil over during an anniversary honouring their parents deaths.

 

Hello Kashif, it’s great to get to talk with you, how have you been keeping after everything that’s been happening?

 

I’ve been doing well. It was a bit nerve racking when all Covid-19 restrictions were removed, but I think I got through it well enough. I still tend to wear a mask when grocery shopping and such. I have been fortunate in that I have been able to work on films throughout the pandemic.

 

Have you been able to remain positive and creative at least?

 

Yes. I just recently completed principal photography on a documentary and am currently working to picture lock another documentary filmed during 2020-21 and completing my feature script.

 

What does it mean for you to be in the Cannes Short Film Corner with Beau Geste and what do you hope to take away from this experience?

 

I appreciate the opportunity to screen our film at Cannes SFC. I am hoping to meet some distributors and learn about new streaming platforms.

 

How vital are platforms like Cannes SFC in championing and supporting the short film format?

 

I think without Cannes SFC, and other short programs at the major festivals – TIFF, Sundance, et al – there would not be as much interest in short films. Obviously, the majority of viewers are interested in bigger budget, more expansively marketed feature films, but by having a space for short films, it allows emerging filmmakers to enter the ecosystem.

 

Can you tell me how Beau Geste came about, what was it about Patrick Alexander’s screenplay that interested you as a director?

 

Patrick wrote the screenplay after consultation with the lead actress, Quyen Ngo, and me. He wanted to write something outside of his comfort zone. I wanted to film something more character driven and intimate. And I think we were able to work together to achieve that.

 

What was the experience for you working with Queen Ngo and Kevin Dang?

 

It was great working with both of them. Quyen and I have worked together before. For Kevin, I think it took some time to get accustomed to the way Quyen and I work together, it’s much more informal. I think everyone enjoyed the experience.

 

When working on Beau Geste, how flexible did you allow yourself with your screenplay?

 

With Beau Geste, we changed the script a lot during the production. The script concerns 2nd-generation Vietnamese American siblings, and given that Quyen and Kevin are 2nd-generation Vietnamese Americans, they brought a lot during production. The entire opening sequence was basically re-written during rehearsal to be more authentic to their lived experience.

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"Initially my films were rather staid – master/shot/reverse shot. Now I prefer longer takes and moving the camera."

What would you say have been the biggest challenge you faced bringing this film to life and what would you say has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from this experience?

 

The greatest challenge was the budget. This was financed through personal funds and completed through the hard work of volunteers. Maintain good relations with as many people as possible and lend a helping hand when you can, because others will reciprocate.

 

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

 

I am not sure passion is the word I would use. I always enjoyed watching films, but I didn’t think it was realistic as a career. I began my adult life in the STEMs and business school. I wasn’t serious about filmmaking until my late 20s. Ever since, I have loved being on set and coming up with ideas.

 

How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut short?

 

I am willing to take more chances. Initially my films were rather staid – master/shot/reverse shot. Now I prefer longer takes and moving the camera. I also like to spend more time working with actors.

 

What’s the best tip or piece of advice you would offer a filmmaker?

 

Create what you know and what you like. The industry is in constant flux so don’t be afraid to experiment with content and form.

 

What themes are you looking forward to exploring with future films?

 

The current feature script that I am writing deals with alienation and the struggles of being poor in contemporary capitalism.

 

And finally, what would you like audiences to take away from Beau Geste?

 

I’d just like them to spend some time with the Quyen’s character, Julie, and to understand what she is going through.