Interview with Vianney Lebasque

October 21, 2013 | By Myriam Laville

The first edition of the Chelsea Film Festival will take place in New York at the SVA Theatre from October 24th to October 27th, 2013.

The line-up has just been announced, and Vianney Lebasque's Les Petits Princes has been chosen to be part of the competition.On the occasion of his selection, we asked the director a few questions...

French Culture : Your film is part of the inaugural Chelsea Film Festival.  How do you feel about the festival’s mission, “Making the world a better place”?

Vianney Lebasque : It’s truly a pleasure to participate in this first year and to be a part of such a positive mission. While making the film, I was constantly thinking of it as a unifier, offering both positive energy and the strength to believe in our dreams. With my co-writer, Mathieu Gompel, I wanted to create a story which confronted differences, yet above all, united people from different generational, social, and cultural backgrounds.

The rural meets the urban, the world of street art meets that of sports, and the France of Eddy Mitchell meets a new, diverse generation. Through the story of JB, I wanted to create a portrait of the new France, offering a positive message of shared dreams.

FC : The Little Princes is your first feature-length film. It is the story of high-schoolers at an athletic training program. Why did you choose this subject?

VL : For my first film, I wanted to work with a world I knew well and a theme close to my heart. I shared the same dreams as these characters when I was younger, and I am very familiar with these training programs. This world is unknown to the public and yet it holds the hopes and dreams of thousands of young people.

For me, the story is a metaphor for adolescence. It is the moment in which the dreams of childhood collide with the harsh reality of adulthood. JB fights against such inevitability and inspires a message of courage, that may be an example for all of us.

FC : You are drawn to the themes of adolescence. What specifically interests you about this period of our lives? Did you encounter any unique challenges filming young actors?

VL : I love this time of life in which everything is still possible, in which all emotions are heightened. It is a time of pure faith, but also of discontent. Many factors are at play, and yet none of us are fully aware of them at the time. Some of this unconsciousness guides my main character, but he also carries an unwavering faith. This faith allows him to keep fighting.

I greatly enjoyed working with young actors. There is a certain spontaneity and energy that appears instinctively in them. It is an energy that must sometimes be directed, but which carries the life of the film. Since they rehearsed together for three months before we started filming, I truly had the sense of a team, a sense that enabled me to faithfully capture the vitality of the group on film.

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