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Vincent Solheid, Erika Sainte and Michaël Bier • Directors

"Directing as a trio isn’t a particularly standard or obvious thing to do"

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- Cinergie met up with the Belgian directors Vincent Solheid, Erika Sainte and Michaël Bier, who co-directed the film Je suis resté dans les bois, out in Belgian cinemas now

Vincent Solheid, Erika Sainte and Michaël Bier • Directors
Directors Michaël Bier, Erika Sainte and Vincent Solheid

Je suis resté dans les bois [+see also:
trailer
interview: Vincent Solheid, Erika Sain…
film profile
]
tells the story of a visual artist, Vincent Solheid who decides to reconstruct moments from his life for his new video exhibition. He assembles a small crew, including Erika, his partner and Michael, a director friend. As the project progresses, Vincent's past begins to resurface and various shameful and comical situations, those that he remembers, begin to collide in his memory. As Vincent immerses himself naively and shamelessly in his past, the image his crew has of him slowly begins to become tarnished. And worse than that, Vincent’s vision of himself gradually begins to change, forcing him to confront who he was, who he is, and who he wants to be. Vincent Solheid is also the co-director of the film Le grand'tour [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
starring Jerome Lemaire, which adopted a similar form. Erika Sainte is a young actress, seen in She’s Not Crying, She’s Singing [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Brabançonne [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, while Michael Bier is a casting director who has made four short films. Cinergie met up with all three directors on the occasion of the release of their film in Belgium. 

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Cinergie: This film has quite a unique form, constantly flitting between fiction and reality. You can’t help but wonder if the film was made to accompany the exhibition of the 12 paintings or if the paintings were made to be included in the film?
Erika Sainte: Actually, we didn’t include any paintings in the original versions of the screenplay. Now, it seems so obvious that this was how the film was supposed to be, that we forget that they weren't initially included. We included Vincent's exhibition to get closer to reality and to work on something real and concrete. We needed to write about something tangible and build the film around that. That's why the paintings are so important.
Vincent Solheid: The paintings in the film will be included in an exhibition that will take place in Brussels next November and are the focal point of the film. 

All three of you directed the film. How did you go about organising yourselves?
Michael Bier: It was definitely necessary to develop some sort of method, because co-directing as a trio isn’t a particularly standard or obvious thing to do. Vincent initially wrote a version of the screenplay. And then one day, Vincent asked Erika to get involved in the writing process, which is something they’d done previously on a short film. Finally, they agreed to make the film together. As it was Erika's first film as a director, they asked me to join the project, which at that point was the story of Vincent, a visual artist who puts on an exhibition, even though his paintings weren’t featured in the film at the time. We then made the decision to revisit the script, to make something that belonged to all three of us. And that's when the writing became more focused on Vincent’s memories and a previous job that Erika and I had done together. The screenplay was therefore written by all three of us. And then, on the set, all three of us were acting, but rarely at the same time. Vincent was involved at all levels, it's really his story, it's his character that the film focuses on. So on the set, he didn’t take on the role of director, at least, not entirely. He let himself be guided by Erika when I acted, or both of us when he was acting alone. When I acted, I put my faith in Erika and Nicolas Bier, my brother, who is a scriptwriter and was also involved in the film’s editing process.

Are there any benefits to directing as a trio?
ES: There are some benefits, yes. I'm not sure what they are, per se, because I've never directed alone, but it was out of the question for me to direct this film alone. I needed and wanted to work on the project with someone else. And I have the impression that for now, we are headed towards ensemble cinema in general. More and more films are being co-directed, co-written and I think there's a real richness to it.

Read the complete interview in French here.

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(Translated from French)

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