What films inspired you to take the film-making career path?
I’m a big fan of Lars Von Trier, since his beginnings. Younger, I was raised with Quentin Tarantino, Olivier Stone… I always loved violent movies. I saw Brain Dead when I was 12 or 13, if I remember correctly. Now, I still love horror of course but I like when a movie has a psychological side (I loved Morse, or It Follows, or Martyrs for example). My first feature film, Victimes, is a very violent movie yet not gory. You’re trapped with the killer, and even if it is not violent graphically, you’re in a true nightmare. Abduction 101 is both very violent graphically and also very psychological; the story is a dream, a horror / erotic fantasy of a person who is bored in their real life and dreams about living some thrills, being abducted. It is a weird fantasy, but for some people it is very real.
What is your favorite decade in cinema?
I have to say the 90s… I was a teenager (I was born in 1980), and I was always at my friend’s place Jean-Nicolas to watch horror and thriller movies on VHS all night long… Those were the years I built in myself a film culture, plus the fact that my dad was a cinema owner. I’ve seen all the movies over those years, from the projection booth. There are two movies I saw when I was really young and that I’ll always remember: Terminator 2 and Indiana Jones the last Crusade. I was terrify, but also fascinating with the FX. They changed my life.
Then, a couple of year later, I saw Pulp Fiction on VHS… And it is still my favorite movie !
Why did you decide to make Abduction 101?
Abduction 101 is my first movie ever made in the USA. Originally, the project came from Steve Noir, from Portland. We wanted to shoot a movie together, he wrote a story, and I came to Portland with my Black Magic Camera. We shot this story, but I had the idea to include in the movie this scene with a girl (Luna Labelle), in black and white telling the story: her dream, her nightmare, her fantasy. I came back a couple of months later to shoot this sequence, and the ending sequence, and from DP I became co-director.
Abduction 101 is a really special project, a really independent production, but made with people who really love what they are doing and do it well. Steve and I are on the same wavelength concerning violence and abduction. We both like the fantasy girls being kidnapped and used… This is like a sexual fantasy, a really wide-spread one actually – but nobody talks about it. Well, we decided to talk about it in the making of Abduction 101.
What was the most difficult aspect of making Abduction 101?
The shooting is always the most difficult part for a movie like that, where we are always short on time and money. But all our team was really great and really invested: everybody wanted to make the best movie possible. Violence and nudity were not problematic because the girls were used to that kind of production.
I remember the first day of shooting… We were in the forest with Brianna, shooting a « sneaking sequence », and it started raining heavily… We thought that it was so great and we decided to continue shooting despite of the weather… It was technically really hard, very intense, but we had so much fun (we love putting ourselves in difficulty for real, I guess it is not just a fantasy after all!)
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
My favorite scene is the very final scene in black and white. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll simply say that this sequence, for me, summarizes what the movie is all about very well…
There is a scene that I also love, when one of the girls is stripped naked and put onto an operation table, wrapped in a plastic bag, and fed with a strange device… I love the moment when she wakes up, raises her hand, understand her situation but is too weak to do anything. Then the bad guy looks at her and finally knocks her out again… This is a really creepy, really intense scene; this is what we love in movies like that, that kind of intensity.
In your opinion, what makes a great horror movie?
To make a good movie, you need to have a good story and good characters. But you also need to create intensity, otherwise your movie is gonna be boring. For Abduction 101, we chose to mix horror, fetish and eroticism. This feature film is full of bondage, fetishy stuff. That is what makes it really original and quite unforgettable.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever been given about your films?
About my films in general, the best compliment is « I’ve never seen a movie like that ». I’m trying to avoid cliché, I don’t want to tell a story that has already been told, or make a movie similar to another one. This is hard, because a lot of things have been done already, and sometimes what you think is new is not. But still, I’m always trying to stay independent and original in my stories and my productions. Victims, Sadik 2, Dreamland, The Darkest… Each time I’m trying to do my best to make the movie unique, something never seen before.
There is no point, in my opinion, of doing something that has been done before. That is not having creativity; that is a business mind-set.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I’m currently editing Troubles, my next feature film, that I shot in Portland last summer (2018). The american team is almost the same that the team of Abduction 101 : Steve Noir was my first AD and producer, Luna Labelle (the narrator in Ab-101) has an important part in the movie, and you’ll recognize Adrienne Stone and Nixi Oblivion (the lesbian couple in Ab-101). There is also the Griffing brothers, who played bad guys in Ab-101…
To shoot Troubles, I went to Portland with 3 French actresses: Chloé Imbroglio and Claire Suchet (both actresses in my short film Shibari, shot in Japan in 2017) and Désirée Deboës. The movie is not a horror movie, but a psychological thriller with violent and disturbing scenes in it. It is about traumas, had how you can fight against them.
If I manage to finish the edit and the mix before May, you’ll have a chance to see it during the Cannes Film Festival, at the market!