Interview with Filmmaker Edouard Paquet (REMOTE)

REMOTE was voted BEST DOC CHARACTERS at the May 2020 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Edouard Paquet: I’ve always been an avid traveler. Both my parents found it very important to see as much as possible of the world and see the differences between places and cultures. Those differences make you understand how the world and its people work. So I’ve always wanted to explore different places but what really intrigued me was isolation. I grew up in a city and then moved to another city, so although I’m an outdoors person and have spent a lot of time in nature, I was fascinated by the opposite of what I knew best: remoteness, where do people live and why! In Europe it’s becoming harder and harder to find spots like these but after spending hours researching and finding Bardsey Island I knew I had to document it!

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

It’s hard to say. I’ve had a sense of this idea for years. I’d say if you look at when we properly started researching, probably about 8 months. It would’ve been possible to do it in less time but the whole crew was busy and no one could work on it full-time. But as a director, I definitely thought about it non-stop every single day for about 8 months.

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

Sensory experience.

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

I could talk about this for ages because it definitely wasn’t an easy film to make. I think the obvious one is that the subject of the film is a remote island. Communicating with the inhabitants is complicated as there’s no regular phone service on the island. So planning the whole shoot was tricky. And the fact that it was an island made it complicated too. We were supposed to spend 2 weeks on the island to shoot the film, but because of the storms the only boat, a private boat, that could pick us up on the mainland was unable to navigate the rough waters and we had to shorten our stay to 1 week.

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

I think I definitely felt some fear and anxiety for the first few seconds because it was coming from people who love watching short films and were talking about something I worked on for the best part of a year. I’m very happy about all the positive feedback and also agree with the not so positive feedback. I noticed someone said that the films didn’t answer enough questions and I actually have the same opinion.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Like I mentioned before, I’ve always been fascinated by remote places. It’s just something I wanted to explore more and understand! Last year I had the opportunity to make a film and went for it!

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

Funnily enough it definitely isn’t a documentary! But it’s hard to say, I honestly don’t know. It goes from French films like ‘La Grande Vadrouille’, that I’d watch with my family all the time, to more famous films like ‘Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Interstellar’, ‘The Hateful 8’, ‘Good Will Hunting’ and many more!

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It is a great platform that connects people that need to be connected: filmmakers and people who are passionate about the craft and want to showcase the work produced around the world! It’s easy to use and has lots of options.

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

I wouldn’t be able to say … I listen to a lot of different music, it’s very varied, and wouldn’t say that I have good music knowledge. That’s why I made sure I was surrounded by the best composer, and sound designers for ‘Remote’. I knew music, and sound in general, was going to be very important in this film and definitely couldn’t rely on just my knowledge or style.

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

2019 was a hectic year for me. After getting ‘Remote’ done in June 2019 I set off on a trip, driving from Bristol to Mongolia in a small 1-liter car and documenting it. We made a 10-part series, available on Youtube (‘Bristangolia’s Mongol Rally) that took a lot of my time.

So now for the first time in over a year and a half I have time to think about what’s coming next.

I definitely want to make more documentaries. I also want to keep traveling and discovering new places, so the dream is to combine both and telling stories about my travel, experiences, the places I visit and the people I meet.
But before that I’ll be editing a short film in July.

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