Interview with director Mathilde Neau (UNBIND)

Mathilde Neau’s short dance film played to rave reviews at the April 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Mathilde Neau: My first motivation in films is to express feelings, thoughts, to answer questions with body expression. Talking with dance. This was the leading of my project, exploring sensations and trying to catch them in film. My curiosity to approach a world with subtlety and without words, my want to transmit an organic message was the center of the project.

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

The idea emerged from questions I had inside of me from a long time, and it took me around five months from the first draft of the script to the final edit to finalize Unbind. But I can say the creation process just started. This film has raised in me so many questions I’m now following new tracks opened on the accessibility of dance for blind people and the expression of it. The beginning of a bigger story, three stories.

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

A ‘sharing expression’.

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

Time was against me. I stayed in Australia for a few months and had to make it all happen so quickly. I wish I had more time in preparation with my dancers, to be able to digest longer the characters lives with them, to carry them through more experiences. This is how a tryptic of films came up and was legitimate to happen next.

But I feel this hurry made something else happen, something more intense and naive. I’m glad it happen that way too. It brings a real immediacy and truth about it.

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

Really emotional. To hear and see how unknown people reacted, participated and implicated themselves in the story, I felt I won everything. To catch their attention and their sensibility, making the connexion happen and sharing; this is the reason why I always wanted to make films.


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

It’s for me essential to spread the benefits of dance in our lives. Also I was focused on the fact that the majority of our actions or thoughts are led by the view. My questioning around those who did not see was then obvious. So exploring this unknown area, projecting what I thought it would feel like, be like; putting myself in their shoes was important. Then we built with Hilton and Natalie around this idea, developing our sensibility to it.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I won’t be able to tell, but the ones that marked me the most are those which gives a big importance to the human body, as a way to express ideas and feelings as much as highlighting them in the aesthetics, filming them as a moving painting.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

The songs where the voice grabs you and makes you shudder, when you can feel their souls; like Etta James, Nina Simone, Ella Fritzgerald. The kind of music that gets you in the guts, with a dominant pace, deep bass and drum, very rythmical fever.

What is next for you? A new film?

Two new films actually! Unbind is the first of a tryptic project I have in mind. After touching this subject, I made a lot of researches, got more and more curious about blind dancers’s environment and possibilities. I wanted to give them a space, understanding their truths seemed crucial. This place isn’t enough given.

I felt the need to continue enriching me by their stories. So the second film will have a different angle, more documentary. I’m currently working on the preparation and will come up with it at the beginning of next year.

Here are some links to my websites, to follow my work and Unbind progress.


By matthewtoffolo

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


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