Interview with the Director of 1500 NIÑOS, Oliver A Dubois

I recently chatted with Olivier A Dubois, director of the film 1500 NIÑOS. A fascinating film about a Mexican peasant who collected all kinds of dolls and puppets he exhibited on his island for his own pleasure, but also to protect themselves from a ghost that haunted him.

Learn more about the film that played at the July 2015 Film Festiva:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Olivier A Dubois: I had seen these images of this island from the web, and when I had the opportunity to actually go there, I did not hesitate for a second. At first I had planned to take pictures only, but I knew video would have a stronger impact, despite the short time I had. My motivation thereafter was really my fascination for the peasant, the real person (who started it all). He died in 2001, I did not know at the time I started this endeavor, but I was interested in his personal psychology. It challenged me, I tried to imagine how he lived and his inner motivations to collect all the dolls.

Matthew: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Olivier: Filming in Mexico took about 2 days and post production in Quebec took about six months.

Matthew: I see that your main actor unfortunately passed away after the making of this film. Did he get a chance to see the movie?

Olivier: The actor: “Roberto Sanchez de la Vega” was struck down by cancer in 2014. I was fortunate to have him for my shoot, because his health worsened rapidly. I didn’t have the privilege to know about this remarkable man, who was not a professional actor, but he gave me this incredible performance. Fortunately members of my family over there managed to show him the film on his hospital bed. It seems he laughed a lot!

Matthew: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Olivier: The little time I had on the island … and perhaps post-production, it’s crazy how long it can take to transform superb HD digital images into ‘old film/celluloid format’! Ha ha 😉 !

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city and country?

Olivier: I live in Quebec, and there are several very interesting festivals that project short films. Fantasia for example. My short film also had great international distribution, it was presented in 17 other festivals and soon it will be shown in a museum in Belgium as part of a doll exhibition.

Matthew: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Olivier: I was delighted! Short movies may be shown at several festivals, but it’s not every day that the creators of those shorts get real-time feedback from a live audience. It made me really happy. Thanks for that!

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Olivier: The Exorcist? Ha! Ha! Ha! Nah, I can’t say really… I find it very difficult to answer this question seriously. My interests in cinema cover several genres, but I especially love the movies that surprise or upset me. It’s so hard to find works that demonstrate originality.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Olivier: Sure. Making movies is a choice I made long ago although it’s not easy to have the means of one’s own ambitions! I’m still working tirelessly, aiming towards making a feature film, but for now I create shorts at least twice a year. It’s easier for now… I have an idea to stretch a work over several years, it’s quite appealing! But for a feature length format lasting over an hour and a half, you need something dense enough storytelling wise. ‘1500’ is cool, but that idea expanded too long would have made a boring feature length film. The short is a genre in itself, perfect for that type of concept. It may not generate big profits for the creator , but it certainly feeds me creatively ;)! This said, it’s really cool to sometimes have a little recognition as WILDsound provides. Thank you again.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video for 1500 NIÑOS


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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