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Romain Gavras

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The Creators Project: For starters, can you say a few words about the new feature you’re currently working on? Everyone is dying to know more about it.

Romain Gavras: It’s my first movie, and I am very proud of it. I had the chance to do exactly the movie I wanted, so if it’s crap it’s all my fault. It’s about two red-haired guys who want to go to Ireland to create a country for gingers.

What are the main differences between shooting and editing a short-form music video, and shooting and editing a full-length film?

It depends on the people, I guess. For me, it’s the same, except a film is way longer, so if someone in your crew is stupid or you hate someone, you are still going have to deal with him or her for months. In a music video, you can punch them in the face after a few days.

We like your style. Do you remember your first camera and the kind of stuff you shot with it?

Yes, I do remember. It was the family Video8. My friend Kim and I did our first film with it when we were 13. The film was really weird; we had no friends so we were playing all the parts in it. I was playing three different guys and two women. Also, I think it’s the most hardcore film we ever made. There is a scene that features a Danish zoophile movie. And let me tell you, at this time there was no internet. A 13-year-old kid getting his hands on a zoophile film was pretty impressive. This first film made us famous in our school. After that, everybody wanted to be in our shorts.

The whole Kourtrajmé aesthetic was really lo-fi in the beginning, wasn’t it?

Yes it was. We had very lo-fi cameras, but we used them for what they were, not like the imbeciles who try to make video look like film. The technique influenced our staging and our narratives.

Do you feel you could’ve made these films without the advent of DV?

Definitely not. DV and video made it possible to do films totally independently, without money, and with just with the energy of friends. We learned to do films by doing them, which was completely impossible before. You had to go to school, become an assistant, etc.

Are you interested in technology as a medium in and of itself, or mostly as a tool to enrich other mediums?

I’m only interested in technology for films. And I also like walkie-talkies because they are cool.

Are there any forthcoming technological developments that you think will change the filmmaking landscape and considerably change the way you work?

Soon video cameras will take over film completely. There are good ones already, but it’s still very expensive. In a few years there will be cheap cameras that make better images than film, and then we won’t need that much money to make a proper feature film.

What other work have you seen recently that has blown your mind?

A Prophet by Jacques Audiard blew my mind; I felt really young and small when I saw it.

Are there any up-and-coming talents you’d like us to know about? Any young people we should keep an eye on?

No, I don’t like people younger than me. They all dress like they come from the 90s, and the 90s were pretty horrible.

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At a glance

Film director, redhead avenger.

Location: France
Profession: Director
Websites: Kourtrajmé; Myspace
Notables: Notre Jour Viendra (2010); co-founder of Kourtrajmé; Music videos: “No Church in the Wild“ (2012) for Kanye West and Jay Z; “Bad Girls” (2012) and “Born Free” (2010) for M.I.A.; “Stress” for Justice (2008); “The Age of Understatement”(2008) for The Last Shadow Puppets

Romain Gavras uses: Final Cut Pro, Avid, Sony DV Trv8e, 16MM Aaton, 35MM Penelope Aaton
Connect: Facebook; Twitter; Vimeo