Award winning, self-taught filmmaker Florian Poupelin and what’s behind his creativity

'At a Stop'

"I look back, it all make sense. It was the end of a long process, that begins when I discovered Kubrick and Kitano..." Florian

Was there a life event that influenced you to become a filmmaker?

Florian Poupelin

Florian Poupelin

I do not come from a creative background, so when I realized that making a film was possible, that anybody with a minimum of passion, talent and patience could create a story told through images, I jumped right into it. It was very instinctive, very irrational : I had to do it. But now that I look back, it all make sense. It was the end of a long process, that begins when I discovered Kubrick and Kitano in my early teen years, and that continued during several years of amateur videos and desire of making something new. Those kind of things doesn’t happen in a fortnight, it takes time. There’s a 'moment', but it’s the consequence of many others tinier ones. Like in a film, when the character makes its way through several challenges, before arriving to the climax.

As a self-taught filmmaker; what can you share about your experiences so far?
I think being a self-taught filmmaker give you the opportunity to experiment by yourself, and not because you have to (like in a film school). You make more mistakes, but consequently, what you learn by making them is much more engraved in you, because you did these mistakes all by yourself. You have no one to blame for it but yourself. I think it’s the hardest way to learn, but I also think it’s the most rewarding. The other advantage of being a self-taught filmmaker is that your only influence is you, not your teacher, not your friends, not the classics you must study. You are alone, facing your creation, and the only thing which stands by your side is your vision, and you must stay true to it.

'At a Stop'

Can you tell us a little about the project "At a Stop".
"At a Stop" was made during a Kino Kabaret, in Geneva. The concept of which is that you have three days to entirely made a short-film, with the precious help of a bunch of people (amateurs and professionals).  The great thing about the Kino Cabaret is that you have professional material for free, that you meet fascinating people and that you’re in a constant creative mind-set. It’s a really great experience, because for three days everybody forgets about the money and focuses on the art and the passion of cinema. "At a Stop" was made within this spirit. I just wanted to tell a simple story, about an ordinary event, that happened to almost everybody. I also wanted to reverse the balance of power in the boy-friend/girl-friend cliché and be the more subtle I could about it. And of course I wanted to offer something visual, something urban and darkly lighted. And I’m glad, because "At a Stop" was selected to several world-wide festivals, so I guess it means the film works.

Which role are you most comfortable with on set?
I would like to be everywhere ! I’ve got an obsessive behavior when it comes to making films. But mostly, I assume the director role (it’s the one I chose after all). I try to create a good atmosphere so that everybody have pleasure working on the set. It seems simple : you just gotta be nice and sympathetic to all your crew, and know exactly what you want (because questions are always flying your way). But in fact, it’s quite hard. This is what being a director means, so I don’t really have a choice. I’ve gotta to do it.

Do you have a favorite film genre?
I have favorite films, but not favorites film genres. I just like when a film is well-directed, well-written and offers something new and intelligent to the audience. And those kind of films are rare nowadays. The films I prefer aren’t part of any genre, but deal with the same question: what is to be human? And not being human in a particular place or time, but in a general, in a deeper way, films that question human existence itself, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Salò, Stalker or Enter The Void. However, I must admit I have guilty-pleasure genres, mostly Hong-Kong films (all kind), because they are so creative and limitless!

What piece of advice would you give to filmmakers making their first film?
Stay true to your voice, you’re the only one to have it. No matter the financial issues, no matter the mistakes, the voice is all. This is your duty as an artist and as a filmmaker. I know it’s difficult when you begin, but the more you try, the more you’ll get there. And I know it, because I’m still a beginner myself.

'Some Other Dawns'

'Some Other Dawns'

Can you tell us what to expect from you in the near future?

Right now, we’re finishing the post-production  of a new short-film , the most ambitious I’ve made so far, titled "Some Other Dawns". It’s the story of two young ones who fight against boredom, one night, between dreams and anxieties. It will premiere in Switzerland by the end of November. And this October, I’ve shot a 7 minutes sequence-shot, in a 'behind closed doors drama' style, as part of a 48H Film Project. And then of course, I’m continually contacting local producers to begin the pre-production of my next short-film, before getting to the feature, which is being researched right now. I’m just staying busy.

 

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