Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize on SHOOTING STAR

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On a family trip to observe the shooting stars, Chloé, a withdrawn teenager, discovers a dazzling attraction for her mother’s new boyfriend.

Jennifer Merin: What your film is about — both in story and theme?

Ariane Louis-Seize: Shooting Star is all about Chloe, a withdrawn teenager who builds a special connection with her mother’s new boyfriend. The idea was to depict a young woman living her sexual awakening, alongside her dysfunctional mother who is always looking for the spotlight. These complex family dynamics have allowed me to explore family ties and unconditional love regardless of our flaws, our weaknesses, our mistakes or regardless of how strong our desire to emancipate is.

Merin: How is your film stylistically distinctive?

Louis-Seize: I like to create mesmerizing and hypnotic atmospheres and build intimacy between the viewer and my characters to give privileged access to their inner world. While my previous projects had a very dreamlike aesthetic, the visual style of Shooting Star is much more raw in order to create a very realistic feel.

Merin: How and why did you encounter and commit to the subject/theme of your film and to the main characters in it?

Louis-Seize: I like unconventional characters who break down barriers. It’s liberating to see them act as we would never dare to do it ourselves. I think teenagers are incredibly rich characters because they are guided by their desires and are constantly testing their own limits and the limits of others. The goal was to create tension and stand on the edge of something dangerous but to never cross that line.

Merin: What did you learn about the subject/theme from making the film?

Louis-Seize: I’ve learned that, deep-down, we’re all craving for love. And at some point in our life, we’re all one step away from making a big mistake.

Merin: What did you learn about filmmaking from making the film.

Louis-Seize: I’ve learned that a good way to build a safe space and create a complicity between actors is to do several rehearsals with them, prior to shooting. It lets them explore their characters, which in the end, will bring realism to the film.

Merin: What were your biggest challenges in making the film?

Louis-Seize: To find the right actors and the right locations in a remote region.

Merin: What are your plans for the future?

Louis-Seize: I’m currently co-writing my first feature film : Humanist Vampire Looking For Consenting Suicidal Person. It’s an offbeat bittersweet comedy about depression, loneliness and self-acceptance. It tells the story of two self-destructive teenagers, a vampire and a depressed teenager with no social skills, who are desperate to find their place in the world. The character of the vampire allows me to explore universal questionings about our own relationship to death, and how to deal with the darkest side of ones’ self. These questions have haunted me for a very long time. It’s very interesting to explore them through young protagonists who are already tormented by thousands of existential questions.

Merin: Who are the filmmakers whose work has inspired/influenced your own?

Louis-Seize: For her rebellious spirit, her magnificent non-conformist heroines, and her contribution to building a dialogue around female sexuality and its representation on screen, Jane Campion is a huge inspiration for me. I like how she manages to create those atypical, uncanny, but touching characters. « Sweetie », her directional debut, had a big impact on me, mostly because of her way to talk about emancipation, dysfunctional love/hate relationships and family ties, but also because of her mysterious and fascinating visual style.

Merin: What advice do you have for other female Filmmakers who are trying to make their way through a still male-dominated industry?

Louis-Seize: I think it’s a luminous time for female directors, thanks to all of the female filmmakers who fought so hard to create this space for us. There have never been so many emerging female directors and producers. I am myself surrounded by a lot of talented female filmmakers and it makes me proud. We are breaking some old narrative reflexes that are rooted in us because of the male-dominated industry and we can get away from the misogynistic clichés that we don’t want to see anymore. We are reframing the gaze of the industry and this makes me really happy in these very dark times on so many levels. This being said, my advice is to trust your instinct, your imagination, stop apologizing and always remember that you are in the right place.

About Ariane Louis-Seize:
Ariane Louis-Seize made her directorial debut with her short film Wild Skin, which has travelled in more than 50 festivals and won numerous awards. In 2017, she directed Littles Waves, which had its world premiere at TIFF and international premiere at the Berlinale. In addition to devoting herself to writing her first feature film, Ariane completed the short film The Depths which began its festivals tour in 2019.

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