Yann Samuell, ‘I share FIFO’s ethical and moral values’

The successful director and screenwriter, Yann Samuell is best known for his beautiful romance ‘Love Me If You Dare,’ with Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet, and more recently his enjoyable adaptation of ‘War of the Buttons.’ He is a member of the jury for this 9th FIFO.

You are a screenwriter as well as a director, two professions in their own right?

Yes, but in my case they are complimentary. I would not write something if I was unable to direct it, because a poor script inevitably makes a bad film! I have always done both in parallel.

Has making films always been your goal?

For as long as I can remember, yes. When I was a teenager I was asked what I wanted to do and I replied that I wanted to become Ridley Scott… It was something I clung to. I studied cinema and many students gave up. The question never arose for me as I had no other option as such.

Had you heard of FIFO?

No, I only found out about it when I was invited. Until now, I disagreed with the concept of prize-giving where several works are highlighted to the detriment of many others. However I have ethical and moral values in common with FIFO, which are to protect culture and people threatened by being brushed aside by internationalism. Therefore I have seen the other side to a festival which enthused me.

Does documentary format appeal to you?

Several years ago I had the pleasure of making a series of documentaries. I appreciate the authenticity of documentary, the search and discovery of the truth. Not that fiction is insincere, to the contrary, but one of the strengths of documentary is in its lack of artifice. I have many ideas for documentaries going round in my head but once you are on a certain ‘track,’ it is difficult to change!

There is no point going back over the polemic of the simultaneous release of two ‘War of the Buttons’ films, but what have you learnt from this misfortune?

It’s a film that I made with passion and which I was in no hurry to complete, as it took me 2 years to direct. ‘The other’ was made in 6 months. I deplore this obstinacy which is nothing other than a commercial brute. It affected me a great deal.

What are your current projects?

I am working on a science fiction film in the United States. A sort of Romeo and Juliet between the two planets Mars and Earth…A wonderful, original story with ‘major’ casting, notably Kate Winslet or Natalie Portman as Juliet. I also have some projects in France, with the adaptation of a novel by David Foekinos, currently known for ‘La délicatesse’ (Delicacy). It is a book that he wrote after having seen my film ‘Love Me If You dare’; the story of a romance narrated uniquely through separations.

What is your impression now that you have been inTahiti for several days?

It is my first time here and I have to say that I am impressed. I have had an outstanding welcome. We are mollycoddled and pampered. I swam with sharks yesterday and was jostled by rays… Man has a marvellous relationship with nature which is so constrained in Paris.

What do you expect from FIFO?

I am already full of admiration for the energy expended by the FIFO team to spread the word and I find it fascinating that the word has spread so far afield. In particular, I am expecting that the objectives set by FIFO are reached. I have also learnt, for example, that Polynesia is not recognised by the CNC… It’s a shame as CNC’s support allows creativity to be backed of which, I am sure there is a great deal more here to be expressed.