Jean-Jacques Annaud – recipient of this yr’s EnergaCamerimage Director Duo Award alongside together with his collaborator, DP Jean-Marie Dreujou – at all times knew he needed to be a filmmaker. Born throughout World Struggle II, the longer term director received his first Brownie digicam at age 7, and his first 35mm nonetheless digicam at 10. By the point he turned 11, he was capturing 8mm movies. “I didn’t wish to play with my pals after I received house from college,” he recollects. “I instantly went to edit my movies.”
After receiving diplomas from France’s two prime movie faculties – now referred to as the Louis Lumiere college and La Femis – his lecturers provided him up as an assistant to industrial producers, launching him right into a profession as director of greater than 400 TV spots – after which he segued into function movies.
His collaborations with Dreujou embrace “Two Brothers” (2002), a poignant story of two tigers struggling in opposition to captivity and human cruelty in 1920s Indochina; prehistoric fantasy comedy “His Majesty Minor” (2007); Arabian war-for-oil spectacle “Black Gold” (2011); and “Wolf Totem” (2015), a narrative of Chinese language college students within the 1960s despatched to Inside Mongolia, which they shot in that forbidding land.
Most not too long ago the duo launched into their first TV challenge, 10-part miniseries “The Fact About Harry Quebert Affair,” primarily based on the best-selling novel, which premiered this yr.
Is that this your first time at Camerimage?
Surprisingly sure, though my movies have screened right here. I’m at all times scouting, prepping and capturing. I’m glad to be in a spot the place individuals on the heart of the creation of flicks are honored the best way they need to be.
You’ve witnessed many modifications in expertise over time. Discuss a few of them.
The transition from 35mm to digital was extraordinarily simple for me. I used to be the primary director in Europe to make use of digital. And I used to be the primary director to shoot a dramatic Imax movie in 3D. That was “Wings of Braveness” in 1995. I shot 70mm horizontal on an Imax Solido digicam. I’m intrigued by expertise. I don’t wish to see the world shifting ahead and me standing behind a Mitchell digicam.
What was the transfer to digital like for you?
I did assessments with two cameras facet by facet round 1996. One was 35mm, the opposite a digital digicam. I transferred all the fabric onto 35mm for projection and confirmed it to my producer, scriptwriter, and folks from Pathe on the Éclair lab close to Paris. After a second screening considered one of my writers turned to me and mentioned, “if what I’ve seen is half 35 and half digital, that is the top of 35.” And he was proper. After all it’s nonetheless in use, however in decline.
Is movie lifeless for you?
No. I nonetheless have nice emotion after I open a can of 35. It has a sure odor. I nonetheless have 35mm gear at my nation home – three enhancing tables, a Steenbeck, additionally a digicam assortment. However it doesn’t matter. It’s a device. Artwork is in your coronary heart, in your head. And why not combine outdated and new expertise?
Why do individuals resist new expertise?
Individuals at all times do. When cinema was invented, theater writers and actors hated what they referred to as its vulgarity. When sound got here, they declared the top of cinema. When coloration got here, they thought that it was giving viewers an excessive amount of info. Once more, it was once more the top of cinema. Nicely, not fairly.
How did you meet Jean-Marie?
He was the assistant of Robert Fraisse, with whom I additionally shot 4 movies. Fraisse didn’t wish to comply with me into digital. He needed to stay with movie, though I defined to him this was not video, this was digital. Then I noticed a Chinese language movie Jean-Marie shot in Yunan, “Balzac and the Little Chinese language Seamstress.” The following film I needed to do had massive nature pictures in addition to intimate interiors, and I favored the best way the Jean-Marie captured area and lit intimate scenes.
Now you’ve accomplished a TV sequence with him.
Sure. I had not accomplished TV earlier than, however for 10 years I’ve been considering of moving into it. Individuals right this moment love lengthy TV sequence – an extended type of storytelling. And there’s a migration of expertise to TV. I needed to experiment. In an effort to keep alive, you need to take dangers.
And why this specific sequence?
I learn the e-book and mentioned, “This isn’t movie, that is TV.” It has 800 pages and 30 attention-grabbing characters. I assumed it was unattainable to do justice to the e-book in a two-hour film.
What was the manufacturing like?
We used as much as seven cameras. The story takes place in Maine and we shot simply over the border in Quebec. Often I’ve 100 days for 1 hour and 50 minutes of movie. For this challenge I had 80 days for 9 hours! I loved the tempo. Typically we shot the rehearsal and that was it. Probably the most I ever did was seven takes and I felt embarrassed. But on a movie I can do 20 takes and really feel alright. I used to be excited. I don’t wish to really feel comfy after I shoot. Creativity is best if in case you have a sure stage of discomfort.