Torronto International Film Festival 2019
Ariane Louis-Seize: "We had planned several rehearsals and we had a submersible communication system that we used to guide her, as well as the whole underwater team."
THE DEPTH / LES PROFONDEURS
World Premiere | 22 minutes
Looking for solace while staying in her late mother’s cottage, a young woman instead finds her old scuba gear — a fateful discovery that leads to more watery revelations, in this spellbinding and visually ravishing drama.
Hey Ariane, thanks for talking to TNC, how is everything going?
Everything’s great! I can’t wait to present my new short film The Depths at TIFF! It’ll be my third world premiere at this amazing festival and it’s always the best screening.
As this will be the World Premiere of The Depths at TIFF, are there any nerves ahead of the screening?
Of course, I’m always nervous before presenting a new movie for the first time. We’ve worked so hard and at this point, it’s impossible to predict the public’s reaction. Despite the nervousness, it’s also a moment of relief because I can finally let my project fly of its own wings. At his stage, my job is done! All I can do is relax and try to enjoy the moment as much as I can.
Does being nominated for the Short Cuts Award add any additional pressure on you?
Not really. I don’t think about the competition. I just want to enjoy the festival, meet people and not let the competition stress me out.
Tell me a little bit about The Depths, how did this film come about?
The Depths is a drama with a hint of suspense that tells the story of Justine, a young woman who is mourning her recently deceased mother. To find some peace, she takes up diving to the bottom of the cottage’s lake and makes an unexpected discovery. The film is based on an unpublished short story that I wrote a few years ago when I was at university. Many of my scripts are based on literary works. I like to be carried away by the power of words to create images, textures, immersive sounds and all the new emotions associated with it.
What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
I first wrote this short story while I was studying in Avignon, France. I had just lost my grandmother and was in mourning. In my writing class, I sought to create a comforting safe-space. Underwater, time is stretched and everything seems lighter. When I adapted the story into a screenplay several years later, I moved away from this safe-space to create a more hostile underwater and mysterious world that would challenge my main character.
"I like to be carried away by the power of words to create images, textures, immersive sounds and all the new emotions associated with it."
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
All the underwater scenes were challenging! It was a new way for me to direct actors and I was dealing with a host of new factors to consider. I wanted to shoot in a real lake because this wild atmosphere would’ve been difficult to reproduce in an indoor pool. Geneviève Boivin-Roussy, the lead actress, learned to dive for the film and had to work in difficult conditions. My main concern was to help her cope with this great challenge. We had planned several rehearsals and we had a submersible communication system that we used to guide her, as well as the whole underwater team. The night scene was particularly difficult for the actors because the water was really cold.
Looking back do you think there is anything you would have done differently on this film?
Of course, I may have done many things differently, but honestly, I do not want to point them out because I worked very hard to hide them in the editing room! I think this feeling is normal. On every project I work on, I learn a lot and try to improve things in the next project.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I have always had a passion for storytelling. Since elementary school, I have written plays and I performed them in front of my class. I discovered my passion for cinema after high school. I did two years in film studies without any particular expectation and a whole world has opened to me ever since.
How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut short?
In the beginning, I was more destabilized by the lack of allotted time on set but now, I always try to determine exactly what is essential to tell my story and what the exact purpose of the scene is. Regardless of all the preparation, I’ll make, I have to keep a lot of flexibility on the set to react to the unforeseen situations that are inevitable on a film set.
Do you have any tips or advice you could offer a fellow writer/director?
I think one of the most important things is to believe in your inner world and determine what is the starting impetus for each project. It's the compass that will allow you to stay true to what you want to do. Then I think it's important to be surrounded by people who understand your vision and give them some creative space.
A film is a collective work and our ego will never be at the service of a project.
And finally, what do you think has been the most important lesson you have taken away from making The Depths?
Never underestimate the scale and difficulty of shooting underwater at night!