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If: An Interview with Jérémy Tignée



Please tell us about the projects you worked on before making ‘If’. How did you start, and how did you learn to make films?

Before "IF," the collective "Working Projects," created in 2012, worked on several small video projects, including a first attempt in the realm of short films: "Mind Asylum." This initial endeavor was an unassuming project among friends, with limited experience. I hold fond memories of it, and though the outcome may be modest compared to our current work, it is dear to me. It marked my first foray into the world of cinema behind the camera. "IF" stands as my first significant project of this magnitude in a leadership role. While the early works of the collective contributed to a certain skill set, it was truly with "IF" that the team could express itself and flourish.

 


Tell us about ‘If’. How do you describe it?

As for "IF," it all began in 2018. I was on vacation in the sun but terribly alone. One evening, leaning on the hotel bar, I sketched the initial ideas and outlines of what "IF" would become five years later. It is, therefore, a very personal story that evolved over time, much like my thoughts. Perhaps the most challenging aspect was to stay true to the initial message that was so important to me in 2018 while incorporating my own growth. The Jeremy of 2018 is not the same as the one today. And "IF" followed a similar trajectory.


Please tell us about your favorite filmmakers.

I don't really have a preferred film creator but rather works that have left an impact on me. Often, they aren't by the same directors or in the same genres. It just has to resonate with me. I've enjoyed both big blockbusters and more intimate films. Of course, there are films dear to me like 'Léon: The Professional' and 'The Big Blue' by Luc Besson, but I was completely captivated by Christopher Nolan's cinema with 'Inception' and 'Interstellar,' though his recent works resonate less with me. Truly, I have no preference. The work comes before the person behind it.



If you were given a good budget, what would be your ideal project?

I believe the next step in the productions of Working Projects should simply be to have a budget! While we conducted a fundraising campaign for IF, it didn't cover, and far from it, the expenses for the film. If I could have a decent budget, at least to pay the actors and technicians, to have true professionals in areas we are not proficient in. Properly lighting a scene, capturing sound, color grading – these are real professions. Currently, it's a bit of improvisation with people of great goodwill, and that's already fantastic! For the next project, I would like to surround myself with trained and autonomous technicians, allowing me to focus on what is ultimately my job: directing.

 



Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?

It is obviously not the easiest to implement. We all have our concerns and our respective jobs. So, planning is crucial, and well in advance. We hold regular meetings on certain important topics as well as checking the schedule. What is causing delays, what else do we need to do? We set deadlines for ourselves. For IF, we didn't have external producers to be accountable to. It's good in a way, but on the other hand, we need to set deadlines for ourselves... otherwise, the film never gets released.


What was the hardest part of making ‘If’.

I think that as time goes on and the production progresses, things become more tense and challenging. When all the shooting days are over, I know everything that still needs to be done... and that was actually the biggest part for IF. James Cameron expresses this very well: In reality, you have to make the film twice. Once during the shooting and once during the editing and post-production. The real film is when you do it the second time, and I can assure you of that! Writing, imagining, shooting is something strenuous, and often, the outcome is unknown. As for me, true creativity comes out a lot during post-production. Creating an extraordinary film with the footage you have is, in my opinion, the most challenging part.


If possible, tell us about your next work. What plans do you have for your future work?

We obviously have plans for the future, and we have already begun pre-production. What I can share for now is that it will be a new short film, the current project is called Namm, it is scheduled for 2026, and the fundraising campaign will take place in May or June 2024. The film will revolve around an old man on the threshold of death on his hospital bed, who, in a final burst, speaks to himself through an old photo of his younger self. I believe I don't need to say more for you to imagine what this man might say to himself and still hope for. If our projects interest you and Namm resonates with you, feel free to visit our website: www.workingprojects.be.

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