According to Antoine Le Bos, “We have to generate the most intense experiences for our viewers”
by Marta Bałaga
- Le Groupe Ouest teamed up with the Brazilian producers during the workshop organised by LIM | Less is More in partnership with Projeto Paradiso
Partnering up with Projeto Paradiso – an initiative of the Olga Rabinovich Institute that provides support mechanisms for Brazilian talents in the audiovisual sector – Antoine Le Bos, the founding CEO of Le Groupe Ouest, the European film lab created on the western coast of Brittany, and Belgian producer Diana Elbaum, shared some insights with the Brazilian producers on 14 and 15 June.
Cristina Fantano (Gullane), Daniel Pech (Multiverso Produções), Erika Wurtz Bertu (Netflix), Fernando Sapelli (Claraluz Filmes), Gustavo Gontijo (O2 Filmes), Karen Castanho (Biônica), Leonardo Mecchi (Enquadramento), Paulo Serpa (Glaz Entretenimento), Rodrigo Teixeira (RT Features), Tatiana Leite (Bubbles Project), Joelma Gonzaga and Thiago Macedo Corrêa (Filmes de Plástico) all took part in the online workshop dedicated to storytelling and finding new ways to inspire viewers who are increasingly wary of independent cinema.
“The current situation, also post-COVID, requires more 'fighting spirit',” said Le Bos. “We have to generate the most intense experiences for our viewers.”
If the role of storytelling is to create meaning, cinema should be a central source of meaning, with the power to sculpt societies, he observed, warning against its oversimplification.
The participants were encouraged to think about what a story really is: a tool to transfer an experience, a way to organise information in order to trigger attention, to communicate ideas through an emotional experience and generate resonance between humans and spectators. Also, in order to understand the viewer’s perception, writers and filmmakers need feedback – but the kind that’s as close as possible to how the viewer would be responding as well.
“We have been educated to use a lot of analytical thinking. When we give feedback, we use that part of our observations. But we want to look at what kind of perspective we would bring if we would stop being clever, and just be a spectator,” noted Le Bos on the second day of the workshop.
By implementing the so-called “perception report,” the “how I feel” approach takes over the more judgemental “what I think” one, establishing mutual trust as a result.
“By doing it, you show the writer that you threw yourself into their script. Instead of using your ‘cleverness’ to look down at his or her work, you are putting yourself at the same level,” he said. What’s more, the feedback should always focus on the actual work. “Stay away from what it could become.” The importance of “having a conversation versus confrontation” was underlined also by producer Diana Elbaum, who added that it was still possible to get more analytical down the line. “It’s important to build relationships with people you might work with in the future.”
Then, other questions should be posed as well: what are narrative strengths of the problems faced by the characters? What triggers emotions and what doesn’t? What is your level of involvement? “If you don’t do your job of involving us, we are in trouble,” said Le Bos. “Writers are often focused on the ideas, not understanding that you need an engine to carry them. Emotions can carry ideas, but ideas cannot carry emotions.”
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