Interview with Filmmaker Marc SAEZ (FOLLOW THE ARROW)

FOLLOW THE ARROW played to rave reviews at the February 2020 ROMANCE Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marc SAEZ: I wanted to talk about desire, sensuality, love but also talk about appearances that can be deceiving and dive people into the cinematographic universe that I love by surprising them. I like films that open up different paths and can give way to different debates and visions at the end.

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

The film was shot in only 3 and a half days. It was a real challenge. The scenes from the beginning in the studio, when she falls in the painting and the love scenes were shot in a studio on the same day, it was a real marathon. I cannot quantify the overall completion time because the film has been finalized according to each other’s dispositions.

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

My film is a fantastic and sensual Thriller. A Romantic film in the pure sense of its definition.

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

The biggest obstacles are always the lack of resources. The film has been self-produced so it necessarily requires certain restrictions that push you to be more imaginative sometimes.

A number of things were complicated. First of all, there are places that I absolutely wanted.

I was the one who found all the sets for the film. I wanted material in the image, from the flowing pavement, to the purple curtains of the first meeting, the material, the places also had to release sensuality. The streets that I also found were not located in the same places that we have quite a lot of movement in Paris and Véronique ran a lot with shoes not really adapted, she was very brave. The love scenes were a challenge too. Finding the right partner for Véronique was important. She and Jean Marie were already romantically associated in a short film I had seen. Jean Marie became a friend it was easier to ask a friend to play these scenes there because it would be taken as a fun challenge. There was no inappropriate gesture on his part. These scenes were very technical contrary to the strong sensuality and eroticism that emerges from them. But I wanted it to be a passionate explosion and for the audience to be swept away in this torment of the senses as the character of the film is.

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

I loved your feedback because what the audience said is exactly what I wanted to achieve by making this film. Dragging them into my universe and surprising them, leaving open tracks, although all the answers are distorted in the film everywhere. The challenge was to tell this story and make you go through a lot of feelings in just 13 Minutes.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Véronique lived with a painter at one point in her life. I love painting and sculpture. I find the relationship between a creator and his muse very erotic and fascinating. The respect that creates this sensuality between the two protagonists sometimes. And what really interested me was to say: “If, as man or woman, I was seduced by someone that turned out to be an artist but who had had a very dark, tortured or disturbing universe in his creations, will I let myself be seduced and dare to have a love affair with him or her ? Take Bacon, for example.”

From there I wanted to build a love story like a thriller with all the codes of the thriller and its false leads. We believe, we seek to interpret, there is suspense… In the end it’s just a love story and two adult people running away from love because they may be afraid of it.

The real painter of the paintings in the film, Claude Duvauchelle, has a habit, for example, of recuperating bones in nature or of asking his butcher to clean the bones and modify them into sculptures.

The bloody knife of the beginning takes you without fail on a track and you believe in murder from the beginning… while he is an artist in full reflexion, he has just cleaned bones and his creative material is protected under canvas covers in his studio. That’s where the blood comes from. There are also sculptures with bones in the gallery. Véronique stops in front of one of them and looks at her for a moment. Nothing is left to chance.

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

There is not a film there are films that speak to me and touch me more than others like for example the film of Juan José Campanella «El secreto de sus ojos», Joker,

In the mood for love, Parasite, the fountain by Darren Aronofsky or even films like The wife with Glenn close which is of absolute leadership strength and intelligence for me. The power of silence, of glances… brilliant. All the films of Chaplin by Orson Wells and Alfred Hitchcock are marvels of ingenuity.

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

This platform is excellent and makes it easy to make his films travel around the world.

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

The songs of Charles Aznavour or Sinatra. Smile by Michael Jackson that touches me, “When i fall in love” by Iglesias and Dion, am an unconditional fan also of the singer “Rag’n bone man”, Whitney Houston and Barbara streisand make me cry every time.

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

I just made my second short “THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME” that captures the subject of metoo and is a shout that I wanted to launch and a fight that I absolutely wanted to lead alongside the harassed women and men around the world. The film is a success everywhere except in France where there is still an omerta and barriers that have not fallen despite the free speech. The film has so far won 87 awards around the world, including 33 awards for Véronique Picciotto.
She is remarkable in the film and her partner Olivier Hémon is also a great actor. I will try to use the dynamics of these two films to move to my feature film(s).

I have one completed but which is more intended for the American market and quite difficult to finance and a second more reasonable which is in the middle of finalization at the writing level.

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