69th Festival de Cannes The 2016 Short Film Corner
Florence Pelletier / Fondue Chinoise / Canada 5‘
Juliette brings her first girl lover Kim to a family dinner. Juliette’s mother, unaware that Kim is more than a friend to her daughter, drinks too many wine and won’t stop talking about Juliette’s previous sex life.
Hello Florence, thanks for talking to TNC, how’s everything going?
Hi! Everything is great, it’s my pleasure to answer your questions today!
Congratulations on having Fondue Chinoise part of this years Cannes Film Festival, any nerves setting in ahead of the festival?
Thank you very much! It is of course nerve racking to be screening Fondue Chinoise at theCreative Mind Group Festival de Cannes screening, but I have to say I am very excited to be back on the Croisette! I was there for the first time last year with my short filmBromance, and it was an unbelievable experience.
What does it mean for you to have Fondue Chinoise in the Cannes Short Film Corner?
I could not be happier to be screening my short film in what I consider to be the most renowned Film Festival in the world! I love the Cannes Film Festival because there’s a creative and vibrant energy, and I try to go to as many screenings as I can whilst I am there!
You won the Jury Prize last year at the Montreal World Film Festival, did you ever expect to get this type of recognition for your film?
Honestly, I did not expect this at all. This is probably the short film that I wrote and shot in least amount of time! It was a personal challenge to write a comedy and to keep it very simple, with only one location and four actors. We had a really fun time creating this project, and I realized the importance of enjoying every aspect of the process. Sometimes, even the simplest films are those that do the best! So yes, I was very surprised and honored to receive the Jury Prize.
Tell me a little bit about Fondue Chinoise, what was the inspiration behind your film?
The idea behind my short film was to create a reinvented comedy of manners, with satirical moments where the audience knows something that the characters do not…all in one room! Fondue Chinoise tells the story of a 20 year-old girl, Juliette, that brings her first love, Kim, to a family dinner. Juliette’s mother is unaware that Kim is more than a friend to her daughter. She starts drinking a bit too much and won’t stop talking aboutJuliette’s previous sex life. The dinner then takes an unexpected turn.
How much of your own experience goes into your writing?
Not as much as people might think… For instance, I have always had a really great relationship with my mother. But for some reason, the mothers in my films are often very eccentric, egocentric, or just nasty! I remember my mom reading Fondue Chinoise, laughing, and asking me: “Are you trying to send me a message through your films!?”
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
Because it is a continuous one-shot film, I would say that to nail the single scene that constitutes the film was the most challenging part! Everything in the film happened in real time, adding a playhouse element that is a main component of my film. Everything had to come together, from the actor’s interactions to the camera movements. It was a choreography that we repeated over and over again to get it just right!
Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?
I do not think I would do anything differently. It is obvious that any time I see my short films on screen, when I am part of the audience, I am the first to think about what could have been done, shot, or edited differently. But in the end, I just take note of these ‘’mistakes’’ and apply the lessons learnt on my next short film.
What has been the biggest lesson taken from making Fondue Chinoise?
As far as directing goes, I learned to always leave time on the schedule to listen to the actor’s suggestions. They come with a background and often have brilliant ideas! As far as the writing process goes, I learned that comedy is the hardest genre to write.
Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?
Not really. Earlier in my life, I thought I would be a graphic designer, or a painter. But these professions are very solitary, and I loved being with people. It was when I had my first film class that I realized it was for me; I could combine the social aspect and the creativity! I knew I had to work on sets.
How much has your style and approach to filmmaking changed since your debut Mes anges à tête noire?
Mes anges à tête noire was a very different short film than Fondue Chinoise, in the sense that it was an intimate drama starring young actors, a totally different approach from this comedy starring a family when dinner goes wild! Mes anges à tête noire was a wonderful co-directing experience with my long-time partner Juliette Gosselin, and on that project, I learned to trust myself holding the camera. After making that film, I felt more comfortable and capable when working with other directors of photography. My approach to filmmaking is still in evolution, and every film teaches me lots.
What was the first film you saw that made you think ‘yeah this is for me’?
That’s a hard one… I remember being troubled by the movie Cafe de Flore, directed by the French-Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée. I was in my first year of filmmaking, and I related to his work because of our shared Montréal roots. But the reason why I was so emotionally disturbed by his film is that he had made exactly the film I wanted to make! From the touching moments, to his use of music, the subject matter, and his beautiful cinematography… I was amazed.
Has it been hard to let go of your films and hand them over to audiences?
It has been very hard. What you write is what you think, so it’s as if the audience is my psychiatrist and they have access to the inside of my brain.
Now that you can be reflective, what advice would you offer a fellow filmmaker?
I feel like I’m a little too young to be giving advice to my fellow filmmakers, but if I could think of anything, it would probably be to always go through your creative ideas.
I have met some filmmakers with incredible ideas that never get on the screen. And that’s because the filmmakers want the script to be perfect before filming anything. Your films will never be perfect. But the more you make films, the better you get at it! So just finish your film, and move on to the next one!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your film?
I hope that people will at least be smiling while watching my film. In the end, it is a comedy; it’s meant to make you laugh!
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