30th FID Marseille | 2019
"...I think my style evolves with each film, always trying to be more demanding visually and sonically, and trying to experiment in different ways with story-telling..."


THE GREEN VESSEL | Dir. Etienne de France | Compétition FRANÇAISE

Première Mondiale / World Premiere 

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Then we are under the impression that The Green Vessel has found its genre and pace: somewhere between a parody of a widescreen adventure movie, and a speculative sci-fi film forecasting the future of our planet, with any hope of emancipation and ecological conversation definitely laid to rest by the alliance between the food-processing industry and big data companies. 

Hello Etienne many thanks for talking to TNC, how are you doing?

Thank you for talking with me too. I am doing great, just arrived in Marseille. 

Are you looking forward to be bringing The Green Vessel to FID 2019?

Yes, of course, I am delighted to bring The Green Vessel to FID 2019. It is the ideal festival for this film. 

This will be your World Premiere & The Green Vessel is part of the French Competition, does this add any extra pressure on you?

No, that doesn’t add any pressure on me. Maybe, I was at first more nervous yesterday when I presented the film to Baumettes’jail inmates, in the context of the Prize Renaud Victor. But it went well and it was an extremely warm discussion. 

Do you still get nerves ahead of your screening?

Yes, sure. 

How would you describe your visual style?

Vast and detailed, leaving spaces and times unfold and develop. Wide compositions where the film’s characters all interact: humans, non-humans, natures, landscapes. 

Can you tell me a little bit about The Green Vessel what can we expect?

The Green Vessel is a double story and tells the journey and the story of an old man on a river. 

Like a storyteller, he shares with us a story: the tale of a scientist, who discovers a contaminated river and tries to understand the sources of this problem. Accompanied by an artist and a young guide, he pursues his research in remotes territories covered by a large forest. As he continues his tale, the old narrator engages himself in a long journey between river and vegetation, a quest that connects him to his own story.

You can expect parallel journeys and dialogues about our futures & presents through rivers, plains and forests, journeys slowly interweaving and dissolving through forest and trees. 

What was the inspiration behind this film?

Work of fiction located in an undetermined future and geography, it was inspired by the history, the the context and the landscapes of the different production places of the project, with for example references to the transformation of Magdalena River in Colombia, to political debates and oral literature in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and to the polluting impacts of agriculture and dairy farming groups in these country and France. 

Another inspiration is my interest in criticizing the mechanisms of web-searching engines companies that market but also homogenize our relationship to landscapes and the audiovisual representations that we create. 

What was the most challenging part of bringing this film to life?

Both filming sessions in Colombia and then New-Zealand were challenging, but the time taken to discuss, question and work on every details and nuance during the post-production was a great experience. 

"...I am detaching myself from fictional science documentary to work rather with fiction...​​"

How important is the collaborative nature in filmmaking for you?

It is crucial to listen and to be able to convey in the clearest way the ideas and intentions with all the team before and during the production and filming. The collaboration resides in the dialogues you develop with the producer, the director of photography, the editor, the assistant director, the actors, well, with all the team that you are working. 

But in the process of writing a script or while preparing the productions, and that is a very important aspect of my work methodology, I often meet scientists, activists, artists to ask for advice and feedback on the content and concept of the film. 

How different is this film to your previous works?

In my previous work such Tales of a Sea Cow, notions of reality and fiction were perhaps more obvious. With The Green Vessel, I am detaching myself from fictional science documentary to work rather with fiction, and to craft a film with interweaving narratives. 

Has your style and approach to your film changed much since your debut film?

If the themes and subjects of my film are echoing each other, I think my style evolves with each film, always trying to be more demanding visually and sonically, and trying to experiment in different ways with story-telling, the use of parallel narratives and different languages.  

My approach is different due to more experience, I might just more patient and more ready in the long journey that is a film.  

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

My passion for filmmaking has grown extensively in the last 15 years, connecting to my work as a visual artist, and more deeply to my practice and love of writing that has always been there. 

Looking back is there anything you would like to do differently or change?

No, it’s too late. 

Do you have any advice for any emerging filmmaker?

This must have been said many times, but don’t wait for anybody to make a film. Develop and questions your ideas and work with people that are ready for challenges, risks and uncertainty.  

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

A journey through many questions, and hopefully a will for action.

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