Interview with director Legrand Leopold

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

The day I discovered Ponette from French director Jacques Doillon.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

I really don’t think so but going to a film institute is a way to try, to fail and to try again.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

I’m very new in the industry so it’s hard to answer but keep going seems to be much more complicated. To started I had to convince myself and to keep going I have to convince others.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

When I first started, I was a freak control on set. I would try to manage everything and everyone but often lost control. Slowly I realized that to make a movie, you don’t have to know everything … you have to be able to listen in order to make the right choices.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

Making a movie is full of compromises. What happens on set is always different from what you have in your mind. And it’s not a big deal. The thing is to be able to stay focus. For example, at the very beginning of To Hell With Codes I wanted the movie to be a single long sequence-shot. But I didn’t find the right location. So I decided to shoot one sequence-shot per scene. And I’m very happy with this « compromise » because the movie is not a camera performance anymore. And I still fell the tension I was looking for.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

I wanted to use a music at the end but I couldn’t because the rights were too expansive. Once again, no big deal. I met an amazing musician who created a soundtrack that I really love.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

I mostly met them at school. They are friends of mine and I hope we will grew up together.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

When I go to the movie theater, I want to be moved. So when I make a movie I try to tell a moving story. That’s it.  

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

Film festivals bring the movies to the audience. And that’s why I make my films for. I really thing film festivals are important for young filmmakers. Every time I’m invited, I go and listen everything the audience as to say on my work. It really feeds me for my next project.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

He should be personal and sincere.