Antoine Le Bos • Artistic director, Less Is More
“We are craving outstanding experiences; we are craving substance and significance”
by Vassilis Economou
- We had a chance to chat with Less Is More’s artistic director, Antoine Le Bos, about the next edition, LIM’s philosophy and what “limited” really means
With the deadline for applications for the 2020 edition of Less Is More – LIM looming (see the news), we had a chance to chat with the programme’s artistic director, Antoine Le Bos, about the next edition, LIM’s philosophy and what “limited” really means for the organisation.
Cineuropa: What are your expectations for LIM 2020, and what’s new?
Antoine Le Bos: In 2020, we want to continue to test new ways to combine the inputs of script consultants and tutors on the projects. Through the creative dialogue we have with researchers in cognitive sciences within LIM's think tank StoryTANK (see the news), it’s becoming clearer to us that the writing process in cinema is still stuck in a rut; it’s still a preconception of what writing means, coming straight from the romantic era of 150 years ago. It’s time to move on! Isolation and pain are not the best sources from which to generate the most interesting ideas, even for the most talented of people. Confrontation, creative agitation and exchanges between interesting brains are far more productive manners to proceed. We are planning to use new ways of helping filmmakers and writers to be more daring and delve further inside their specific territory. We have tested these new ways this year in a dozen "pre-writing workshops" with our partners in Europe. It has become very clear that writers gain incredible agility in their conception process when they go through intense pre-writing phases.
Could you briefly clarify what “limited” means for LIM in terms of the budget?
"Limited budget" simply means we want to help screenwriters and filmmakers to use (self-imposed) limitations as a creative boost in the writing process. There is no maximum budget indicated, as the differences between a feature film in Nigeria and another in Belgium are such that it is impossible to compare and contrast. But a film project that doesn't set out to use limitations in any way as a conception tool – be it in the definition of the film arena, or in the number of characters, VFX, sets or even shooting days – won't be selected for LIM. Creative freedom is clearly reinforced by limitations, as can be seen in the first films by Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, Gus Van Sant or Lazslo Nemes, but for us at LIM, it is also a very clear political statement. In today's ecological and societal context, we believe that independent cinema must step away from the obsession with quantity dictated by consumerism. Filmmakers have to indicate how simplicity can be a way to be more consistent.
Why should an emerging writer or writer-director apply to LIM?
LIM takes filmmakers into a very intense development experience – probably the most intense you can find in Europe today. It has been created by filmmakers and writers, for filmmakers and writers, trying to focus on what is central for us as humans in our connection to films and stories. We are craving outstanding experiences; we are craving substance and significance. The new generation of filmmakers is trying to reconnect with the political meaning of cinema. This world is going mad, and cinema is one of the most beautiful tools created by humans to wake up other humans, poetically, politically and metaphysically, even. Merely talking to small circles of film critics won't help any more.
Who might be your “ideal” participant?
Our ideal participant would be a gifted filmmaker heading towards his or her first to third feature film, which is at an early stage of development, with or without a producer attached. He or she must be eager to throw themselves into a very human, consistent, generous and courageous digging process.
You really focus on the residential aspect of your workshops and their “rural” character; why is this important in your philosophy?
Immersing filmmakers in nature, sprawling beaches with screeching seagulls, wild forests and lakes means making them disconnect from the hyper-connected way of life in big cities. This is a fantastic way to help them establish the deepest connection possible with their own inner driving forces and to dig as deep as possible into the potential of the film experience that they can generate. We also believe in the virtues of small villages and tidal breathing to help them collaborate with each other in an honest and meaningful way. Also, in remote places such as these, the filmmakers can’t escape!
Are there any LIM films that have already been completed?
We have only finished two editions of LIM, and already five films have been shot this year, while around ten are in the final phase of financing. When you take into consideration the fact that we select projects at an early stage of development, this has been going faster than expected. For example, Nova Lituania [+see also:
interview: Karolis Kaupinis
film profile] by Karolis Kaupinis premiered at Karlovy Vary in July, and Mauricio Osaki's The Paths of My Father, which was shot in Vietnam, was selected for San Sebastián's Films in Progress. LIM is clearly taking off!
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