Interview with director Margarethe Baillou (LE PARDON)

Margarethe Baillou’s short film LE PARDON played to rave reviews at the October 2016 Horror/Thriller Film Festival.

It was a pleasure to interview her about her film and what’s next:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Margarethe Baillou: I love short stories so, naturally, I love short films. Unfortunately, people tend to think of short stories as little exercises, mostly done by students. That is not at all the case. As a filmmaker, collecting stories is a passion, and some stories are simply shorter than others. Le Pardon is a good example. It is a short story, an audio-visual poem, a moving picture and a love letter to New Orleans which I visited in 2007, not long after Hurricane Katrina when the city was still hurting. At that point, the story had already been written, but I was still looking for the right setting. Experiencing how warmly New Orleans welcomed artists even after the nightmare it had been through was very touching, and I decided to shoot there. So, the location became a major motivator for telling the story.

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

MB: I wrote Le Pardon in Toronto in 2006, my team and I found the right location in 2007, shot it in 2008 and edited it the same year. Then I put it aside for a while when I had my first child before going back to it, editing more and adding the music in 2013. We completed post-production in 2014.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

MB: Eerie serenade.

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

MB: I kept trying to add on to its story, but it always felt like wearing too many pieces of jewelry. I finally gave up and accepted its length which turned out to be the right decision.

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

MB: I was very impressed by the audience’s insightfulness and imagination. How inspiring for me to have people think that earnestly about such a short story! Thank you!

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film? 

MB: It literally told itself to me one day while I was in Toronto in 2006. I wrote it in one sitting, and it was as though that male voice was telling me his story. Only when I had finished it did I realize I had written it in French. Of course I had to make a few fixes and add stage directions, but it was very eerie in itself.

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

MB: One I admire tremendously and have probably watched the most is Babette’s Feast. It has quite literally all the secret ingredients of an audiovisual feast.

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

MB: My team and I at M.Y.R.A. Entertainment in New York just celebrated the world premiere of our theatrical feature film Drawing Home (www.DrawingHomeMovie.com) at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Alberta on November 2. The U.S. premiere is going to take place at the St. Louis International Film Fest on November 10. Drawing Home is a 1920s feature film about Canadian artist couple Peter and Catharine Whyte and their life in the Canadian Rockies. Headed by Canadian leads, Juan Riedinger (Narcos, The Romeo Section) and newcomer Julie Lynn Mortensen, it furthermore stars Kate Mulgrew (Orange is the new Black, Star Trek Voyager), Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins, Blade Runner, True Blood), Torrance Coombs (The Tudors, Reign) and Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Toy Story, Gossip Girl). Legendary Judy Collins sings the theme song “Stars in My Eyes.” What makes it stand out for Canadian audiences is the fact that it is an American production celebrating Canada. At last, Canadian locations aren’t “stand-ins” for American stories, but we’re really saying this is Alberta. Also, we purposely chose Canadian leads. It is a true love letter to Canada which I love dearly.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the SHORT FILM:

_____

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.
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