Award of Excellence – “The Role of A Lifetime” (France)

Title: The Role of A Lifetime
Runtime: 14 min
Country: France
Director: Marc Saez
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: March 31, 2020

Synopsis: A man, a woman, a payback.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Marc Saez – Writer, Director, Producer

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

MS: This film started from a bad experience we lived with Véronique Picciotto, the Leading actress in the short. It was in 2014. We produced a play on the anti-terrorist cells from a Sidney Lummet movie called Strip search written by Tom Fontana. I adapted and staged this piece called in french “A NU” and during the interrogations, the two protagonists are violentes and then striped a good part of the show. there is no ambiguity with the nudity on stage in this play. No place for voyeurism or sexual remarks. This play is a punch in the stomach for everyone. My two main actors ( Helim Dridi and Véronique Picciotto) had a lot of courage to play these scenes, it was a physical but mostly psychological nudity Veronique had invited directors, castings and agents. An agent came to see the play and made an appointment the next day. She went to the appointment and came back skeptical. The guy told her that he wanted her to see more, he ask herto go further and to do a tape of it and send him the film, he asked her if she’d seen the antichrist movie. It drive me crazy.  I have heard from actresses and” actors so many terrible stories of harassment, both physical and psychological. I wrote this movie in one night and the next day I gave Veronique the script and I said, we’re gonna shoot this, and you’re gonna go back to his office with the movie without telling him what it is. So he’ll face the violence of his demand and see the fat pig he is. At the time, so two years before the Weinstein case, she was afraid to do it, afraid of getting burned in the whole profession. Then the weinstein case explode and I told her : “you see we should have done it, it’s important to talk about it, this kind of behavior has to stop.” I told her I still wanted to do it. That as a man director, I wanted to talk about this problem and the omerta around it. She told me ok, let’s go, and we did it.

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

MS: The film was shot in 3 nights and with a micro budget, but the great energy of an entire team.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

MS: This film is my 2nd short film. The first FOLLOW THE ARROW is a thriller that has won 42 awards around the world. The film is very aesthetic and with few dialogue. This one was a challenge for me. Filming a monologue but with 2 characters.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

MS: Dealing with this subject and making it live in festivals while this problem of harassment still exists is the biggest challenge for me.  The film received 98 awards between January 2019 and April 2020. Véronique won 35 awards. But curiously we only had 2 official selections in France including one at the Rimbauds du Cinéma which is a festival of independent producers where Veronique was crowned best actress. There is a huge problem with this subject in France. The environment is gangrened. Belonging to a family already existing in the cinema, do not burst the scandals that would bring down quite a lot of producers or directors or people high placed in this “family”it comes before the simple recognition of someone’s talent, unfortunately. Too much misplaced money. The only way to fight is to be independent and do things on your own without waiting.

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

MS: Do not make films to wait for glory. Do them to tell something essential. Do not wait for the Oscar but make live your films around the world so that they are seen. Believe in your dreams. You can do it !