MARIE MADELEINE was the winner of Best Film, and Best Performances at the April 2016 FEEDBACK Film Festival. I recently interviewed the filmmaker to chat about his experiences making the film.
Interview with Steve Catieau:
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Steve Catieau: I wanted to express something about our society. For me, “Marie Madeleine” is very contemporary even though the period is not specified. It could take place anytime in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, but the subject also works today. The loneliness, the difficulties to be yourself in a standard world… and when you think it’s all over… you can be reborn and inversely!
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
SC: A year and a half. I wrote the screenplay very quickly. 70% of the story was written in 3 hours on a train… After, it was more difficult: finding the right crew, and the equipment. We shot it in 3 days during a very cold winter. The post-production was hard too… The technical restraints were important. I’m very happy because the film we found along is a film people can participate in it! I’m lucky to have met talented people who believe in me.
MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?
SC: In French, I would say “Une rencontre étrange entre deux êtres étranges”, it means “A strange encounter between two strange people”.
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
SC: Technical obstacles. The technology is now very easy to get. But using it, if you don’t have the money, is really more difficult. We did everything by ourselves, and there’s always surprises. Every step of the way, you run into something unexpected, so you need to wait. You are dependant, for example, on a technician’s spare time and also finding slots when facilities are not rented out, so you can slip in and finish your work. That’s why independent films are longer to make than traditional films…
MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
SC: I was very proud! And very surprised how the film was perceived on another continent. I thought: “Wow, they all understood! I should cross the ocean because they all understand me!”
It’s the first time that I received feedback on such a high level. Since the film has been screened, the reactions are quite surprising. Some people cry, others are upset… The film does leave an indifference. I was very moved by the words of the woman at the end. Thanks again.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of MARIE MADELEINE:
MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
SC: When I met Gabrielle Lazure, the actress of the film, I wanted to write her a special character and to go places others directors never go with her… She is a source of inspiration for me.
MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?
SC: It’s hard to answer in this question… I love “Sue” by Amos Kollek. And I had it in mind when I shot this film. The loneliness of this woman in the big city… I recently saw “Gattaca” by Andrew Niccol. Every time I see this film, I feel moved… A really hard vision of our future. I love “Casino” by Martin Scorcese. I like to follow characters during a period of
their lives. They have everything to be happy but they have lost it all.
MT: What is next for you? A new film?
SC: Yes. Now I’m writing a new film. It will be a comedy, something very funny, yet still a part of my “univers”. It will be a feature. For the moment, it’s in the beginning stages… I still have a lot of work but the ideas are there, and I know how I’m going to do it.
I also wrote with Gabrielle Lazure, a One Woman Show called “Majorette” inspired by her youth. We hope it will be in the theaters in France soon, and maybe, why not, as she is also Canadian, in Canada… Cross your fingers!
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.