Marco Joubert 
The Prophetess
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
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Drawing from the observations, experiences and thoughts gathered throughout her life, the prophetess, in a surge of hope and altruism, shares her conception of a world which should have been, could or will be: a manifesto, for a fictitious or latent generation The text is freely inspired by a Francis Ponge poem, The Law and the Prophets (1930), reinterpreted and rewritten to better anchor it to the contemporary context as well as to my own ideals.

Hi Marco thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?

Well, it feels inappropriate to complain about my particular case when calamity hits at a planetary scale; and I'm quite certain that a lot of people are way worst off than I am to face this. Still, these are difficult times to go through. Any good news is thus welcomed, and being selected for this festival easily qualifies as such.

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

I wouldn't say inspiration specifically - maybe this will come later with hindsight; but what it did was force me to reevaluate and rescale a forthcoming project, in the end prompting me to execute it with truly minimal means - and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I had also more time available to develop new scripts or ideas, whether or not they make it to a finished form in the end.

Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?

To be perfectly honest, I am unaware of the other short films composing the selection at the time of this interview. But I am certainly looking forward to discovering those, and I expect ending up feeling proud to be in the lot. It's always rewarding and encouraging to see that my work is being noticed, and opportunities for it to be viewed are always extremely appreciated.


Can you tell me a little bit about The Prophetess, how did this film come about?

The original inspiration came from an existing poem - a text that French poet Francis Ponge wrote 90 years ago. It still seemed fresh and relevant to me today, and triggered extremely rich visual ideas. So I decided to translate it into the video form. Quite early in the development process, I also chose to reinterpret and rewrite the text myself, so now it has a more personal and contemporary aspect.

What where the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?

Both the shooting and the editing were completed before the advent of the pandemic, so that didn't come into play. Even though the project is very brief, I patiently assembled it bit by bit over a long period of time. So I would say that staying focused, not losing the train of thought, was the biggest challenge. But on the flip side, this probably allowed me to reflect and reconsider things more in between the many short work sessions, and so this particular process had a direct impact on the end result, mainly a positive one in the end, I believe.

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

I wish I could have had more time with the actress and extras and push them a little more, experiment different things with them. Access to better gear also wouldn't have hurt, but, then again, maybe the artisanal aspect of the film is part of its charm.

Describe your film in three words?

Poetry - Existentialism - Manifesto.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

Quite suddenly and unexpectedly. While a resident visual artist in Nebraska back in 2008, aside from my main project - a large scale installation - I had an idea for a film - I had no experience whatsoever in that field at that point, and it was an unofficial, side venture - and it all came to life very quickly, spontaneously, a few days of preparation and a single afternoon of shooting... Followed by a (obviously discontinuous) 4-year editing process... But right after that shoot I was hooked durably already.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?

«Just go out there and shoot» and «If you don't invest and commit, you can't expect to reap much.»

"Acquiring your own voice over time is more important than the success of a single, individual project."

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

Yes, definitely. The development of personal, original, challenging and meaningful visual languages is at the core of my concerns and interests. And I would say that there is such a thing as a ripple effect, so being exposed to great, innovative works triggers inspiration and opens up new possibilities.

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

Don't be afraid to make your own experiments...and mistakes. Acquiring your own voice over time is more important than the success of a single, individual project.

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

I hope the project can contribute to awake or heighten interest and appreciation of poetical forms of expression, and of the different ways in which film language can be used.

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