Interview with Filmmaker Anne Lakhdar (ALONGSIDE THE WATER – GENEVE AND IT’S NATURE)

ALONGSIDE THE WATER – GENEVE AND IT’S NATURE was voted BEST FILM at the Feb. 2022 NYC Science & Nature Film Festival.

1. What motivated us to make this film

Since we started making documentary films, we thought about how we could show stunning nature close to where we live as an eye opener and awareness raising about the importance to protect it. Then we met Prof. Pierre Goeldlin, an amazing living library and passionate ornithologist. He introduced us to the 11 wetlands of international importance in Switzerland (Ramsar Convention) and we decided that these needed to get known. We now have finished 4 of them, all of them a great success. We are in the middle of finishing 2 more and have started on 2 with the 3 others well on the way, discovering more biodiversity, landscape diversity and great people involved in protecting these special places . We are pleased to see the feedback on our films showing that the message comes across.

2. Idea to finished product?

It did take more time than expected. The idea rose in 2017 and the first films of the series were finished end of 2018. The film on Geneva was finished in 2021. This was later than expected, but there was the Covid in between as well… The rest of the series should be finished in 2023, so lot of work ahead of us.

3. The film in 2 words?

Nature, city (or if we can extend and have 3 words: Nature, humans, city)

4. Biggest obstacle in completing the film?

There were a few such as depending on weather forecast, animals that won’t come to our rendez-vous 😊, the casting of protagonists, the nearness to the airport (for the drone), but certainly the biggest one was the Covid coming in – so not possible to meet up with the experts, not possible to have a proper premiere for the film, slowing down work because of home office obligation.

5. Reaction on feed-back video?

I really was very touched by what the people shared because they showed that even if they live far away, they got the core message of the film and all the effort we put in it to make the best possible quality was recognized and valued. So I straight away shared the video with all the team as this is a great encouragement to all of us!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did I realize that I wanted to make films?

I can’t really say when I realized that I wanted to make films, that rather came gradually. My motivation is that films are a great way of telling stories that touch people and so I want to do everything to make this happen in the best quality possible.

7. What film have I most seen in my life

Favorite films have been changing so much that I can’t really name one film. So that goes from “the Lord of the Rings” series, “Unorthodox”, “Intouchables”, “Schindler’s list” to documentaries like “Embrace” or “Tomorrow”.

8. Film Festival experience?

Your feed-back is precious. Recognition and feed-back helps us very much for our feedback to stakeholders and also to future possible partners. Where possible, presence, when finally possible again, at film festival is great.

9. Filmfreeway reactions?

That’s a great platform for promoting films worldwide and easy to use.

10. Favorite meal?

Moroccan food, especially cous-cous

11. What is next for you? A new film?

We are working on the other films about wetlands of international importance in Switzerland. Each place is really different – some are mountain sites, glacier, very wild or on the contrary in the middle of the city like in Geneva. All national languages of Switzerland will be represented, quite a challenge for the italian and rhaeto-romanic.
We are also working on a series about migration, coming from the history and reaching into the future or how to tell the History of the world in a different perspective.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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