Interview with Filmmaker Charlotte Verminck (PATHLESS)

PATHLESS played to rave reviews at the February 2022 LA FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

From an internal point of view: I’ve always been very intrigued by poems, film, expressive clothing, and the deeper meaning of life. For years I’ve been trying to merge these interests and this project has been the first time I was able to connect them all together. From an external point of view: I would love to make people think about the essence of their own lives and start a conversation about the higher purpose of living on earth. With this particular film, I wanted to make people feel and experience that it’s okay to have inner doubts and struggles. It’s part of the journey of life. It’s something that should unite us all, due to its frequent presence in everyone’s life. One needs these moments to come closer to oneself and grow. And I think we all need more poetry in our daily lives.

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

It took around 4 full months to go from idea to the end of post-production. I had written the script right after graduating from college to express how I was feeling at that moment. When I was talking about that state of mind to others, they instantly connected to it. That’s when I decided to make it into a film and start pre-production.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

I really like this question! “Your choice”.

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

Firstly, the entire filmmaking process was very new to everyone in the crew. No one had created a film before. So, there was a lot of time invested in the act of “figuring out” from every point of view. Secondly, finding a desert-like location in the surroundings of Belgium started as quite a bumpy road. This kind of location was very essential to the film because the first line in the script literally goes “Standing in the middle of the desert”. Thirdly, it was very tricky to build a climax in the score while the voice-over still takes on the most important role. But obstacles are here to make your project grow!

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

It was SO fantastic! I felt so honored that people took time out of their day to watch the film. Time is so valuable. Besides, it’s so interesting to hear how people interpret the film and its message, and what stood out for them personally. I think feedback is vital to make yourself grow as a filmmaker and person, both the positive and negative statements.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

It has been in my blood since I was super little. When I was around 8 years old, my favorite thing on earth was to edit random footage, pour it into a story, insert a climax, and make it interesting to watch. In middle school, my friends always came over to “make movies” at my place. Despite the enormous passion for the craft, it took me a while to realize I wanted to make films for a living. I always thought the entire filmmaking process was for the “big guys” that own “big crews”. But that changed when I was doing an internship at a production company in Los Angeles, and I got to know more about that process.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

That would be a battle between “A Star is Born” (directed by Bradley Cooper) and “Nomadland” (directed by Chloé Zhao). “A Star is Born” got me through college because it made me live “in another world”. It gave me such a great feeling watching it because I admire stories in which an underdog gets to fulfill their dream. Also, at that time, I was very passionate about drumming and the combination of music and film intrigued me. But I have to say “Nomadland” was the ultimate game changer for me. Next to being an incredible film with a deep feeling and message, it made me realize films can be made with smaller crews and natural light. I studied every frame of this movie just to increase my knowledge about filming without a gaffer and grip department. It just opened so many doors for me. Also, Fran McDormand is superb.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I think the first step is embracing the filmmaker’s work by providing an audience to display the movie. Also, let people who are already in the industry be able to watch the film so they can get in touch with the work of new upcoming talent. Personally, I love the interaction with the audience – I really admire the feedback concept of your film festival – so you get to know how your film landed into people’s heads and what they got out of it. I think the overall goal of film festivals should be to provide opportunities for filmmakers.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It has been a joy submitting my film via FilmFreeway. Due to this being my first film, I had never submitted anything to any film festival yet nor did I have the knowledge of how to do so. The information about deadlines, prices, and festivals on the platform is very clear and precise. Also, whenever you run into a problem, you can shoot them an email and the team is very kind to help you out.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Haha! Love this. You can always make me happy with an avocado toast, a soft-boiled egg on top, and topped with some salt and pepper. Yes, pleaseeee! Or pancakes with peanut butter!

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

I really wanted to challenge myself with the creation of my first short film “Pathless”: “Do I like this process? Or even better: am I able to complete this process” and I must admit I have never been happier in my life. So yes! Happy dance! A concept for another film is currently living in my head and I’m currently writing the script. I have a lot of side projects going on as well to be able to fund the creation of this next one. Very exciting!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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