Congratulations! L’ÂGE D’OR (aka THE GOLDEN AGE) is Opening the London Independent Film Festival on March 13th. Why did you make your film?
I created L’Âge d’Or for two main reasons: pay tribute to the World-Changing Charms of 60s Saint-Tropez, and encourage the audience to change the world on their own scale. First, it was very important to me that the audience can experience that magical 60s Douce France atmosphere through the music and 35 exceptional locations in LA, Paris and on the French Riviera: Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Bir-Hakeim Bridge near the Eiffel Tower, the Saint-Tropez harbor, Ramatuelle beaches, a period train, etc.
THE GOLDEN AGE also suggests some ideas of how you can bring change, which is a tough journey and also often requires putting aside your personal success. The Beatles perfectly exemplify how artists managed to bring change in the 60s, for instance when they refused to perform in front of a segregated audience in Jacksonville in the USA in September 1964.
Opening the London IFF with THE GOLDEN AGE is a wonderful way to pay tribute to The Beatles, who are specifically mentioned in the film. Also, pay tribute to London, this city where I’ve worked and learned so much from!
Let’s imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I go watch this film?
You should watch THE GOLDEN AGE because it tells a story that has never been told on the screen before. Through the story of these two young people struggling to maintain their artistic integrity, the film highlights the artistic journey and fight for change. THE GOLDEN AGE is a unique way to experience 60s Saint-Tropez through a Neo New Wave eye: all locations are exceptional and revealed by a specific use of color, the magical light of this oh so famous village and refreshing use of music.
Aside from this important modern tribute, THE GOLDEN AGE is also the very last drama fiction that has ever been shot around Notre-Dame Cathedral in its XIXth century form.
An impressive aspect of the film is that it was shot in 35 locations. How was that achieved?
Thank you so much for your kind words, I’ve been amazed myself by the trust and support I’ve received to achieve my vision for L’Âge d’Or. I’ve scouted many locations with our Production Coordinator, we’ve been meeting with the Authorities in Saint-Tropez, Ramatuelle, Paris. Finding the best locations was essential to the film, I wanted them to be as authentic as possible to be true to the story and characters. It was very important to me that the audience can feel 60s Saint-Tropez and that unique Douce France atmosphere.
After a lot of research and location scouting, we managed to film in the locations that were at the very top of my wishlist. We shot in about 35 exceptional locations across France and USA for the film, including the Bir-Hakeim Bridge near the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Saint-Tropez harbor, Ramatuelle beaches, etc.
This is why L’Âge d’Or is also a tribute to the French Patrimoine, to those cities and villages I love so much: Saint-Tropez, Ramatuelle, and Paris. One of the most magical moments of filming was filming around Notre-Dame Cathedral, it was a unique moment of its own and now even more as we’ve all heard about the April events. I’ll cherish those moments of filming all my life.
In what light does the movie show how change is important?
The film shows how change is important both because of how it was made and because of the film story itself. As you’ve mentioned before, I’ve written, produced, directed and star in the film. That’s a bit unusual. Truth is, L’Âge d’Or really is a special film, not made under the traditional French model of public financing, and is meant to be the first one of many of its genres in France, in the context of a growing need for content and of the launch of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
Bringing change is indeed always very scary, whether it’s in your own life or for the world, as it implies a lot of sacrifices and even failures. L’Âge d’Or shows the journey of those artists who’ve decided to overcome that scare. My character Angèle Devaux is a Parisian theater actress who plays in small Parisian theaters in front of empty seats. She’s more ambitious than what the world she’s living in has to offer her. As a woman, she feels she’s mainly asked to become a decent mother rather than pursuing any artistic purpose. When she meets Sebastian Davis, a Franco-American producer in Paris, her life is turned upside down. She decides to embark on an artistic project with him to change this world neither of them fit in. Change is not just important to them, it’s vital. Angèle needs to be given a voice to show how ambitious she can be as an actress and the impact her characters can have on the audience. Sebastian feels incredibly ill-at-ease in the world he lives in, as he’s always pushed to take part in the Vietnam War and seems to fail any of his other endeavors.
What type of feedback have you received so far from the Premieres in the USA?
An amazing one. THE GOLDEN AGE has premiered in the USA at the Massachussets IFF and was Awarded Best Foreign Feature in October. The West Coast Premiere took place at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival at the mythical Regal LA Live and was truly magical. In particular, I was very touched to see the audience applauding so much, including during the very last seconds of the film, which reveal my tribute: "For Artists who change the World". This simply means the World to me, as this shows the audience spent a great time watching the film and is responding to that message, which is all I was hoping for.
I discussed the film on the Q&A immediately after the screening, also as a panelist on the Festival panel about Online Marketing & Distribution. It's a great privilege to be able to discuss with the audience and hear their reactions, which really touched me not only as a Director, but also as a Writer and Actress.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I was amazed by the wonderful questions from the audience at the Premiere and was thrilled by their reactions. They were so right on the money and perfectly corresponded to THE GOLDEN AGE and my vision for it.
Something surprised and amazed me, as sometimes I like to leave some interpretations of the film up to the audience. There is one of those moments that leaves it up to the audience at the end of THE GOLDEN AGE, and I received the most amazing interpretation of it from one of the members of the DTLA Film Festival audience. I can't reveal it without revealing the end of the film, so I will leave it up to you to watch and tell me what you think!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I'm excited for THE GOLDEN AGE to be released internationally in theaters, then on TV and video. Our sales agent is representing the film on EFM at the moment, they also will on Cannes Market in May and on all major Markets.
THE GOLDEN AGE suggests some ways to bring change and I hope it will give hope and encourage all generations to take action, even if they don’t feel important, rich or powerful.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What sort of commitment and sacrifices are you ready to make to bring change?
Anything you’d like to add?
Music! The soundtrack of THE GOLDEN AGE features titles from Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, one of the Rolling Stones' first hits... Music holds a very special place in my heart and in THE GOLDEN AGE. I loved the challenge of producing the soundtrack, which we’ve recorded in a studio near Paris even before filming. 60s Saint-Tropez can’t be recreated without music. Those who will watch the film will see how important music is, from beginning to end!
What other projects are you working on now?
I’m willing to direct and act more in the future, hopefully alongside A-level actors. Working with such actors as Robert Sheehan and Rosie Day on The Bigger Picture, the first film my company Belle Époque Films has produced in 2015, was truly wonderful. I’d love to pursue directing or acting alongside such talented individuals. I keep training my body and my voice for next time I'm on set.
I’ve been cast in 2 wonderful British features, a period drama and a gangster movie. I’m directing and acting in the Family Drama Fang Girl. I’m also writing another period drama feature, 'For The Love Of Music', mostly set in France, that I’m willing to film with top-level actors.