This week’s Filmmaker Spotlight focuses on Director Stephanie Assimacopoulo whose film is showcased at Sunset Gower Studios as part of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles. Learn about her film, as she discusses goals and reminisces about making the film, lessons she’s learned and where you can catch her next.
Name/Position: Stephanie Assimacopoulo/Director, Writor & Producer
Film: Le Train Bleu (The Blue Train)
Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it.
I’ve been working on this project a little bit more than one year from the beginning of writing to the end of editing. It has been a [a lot of] work as I am also the producer of this film and now the distributor.
Adopting the codes of a fantastic tale, I attempted with a symbolic and psychoanalytical vision to show that an ordinary couple’s crisis is frequently the scene of something deeper and more intimate than the interpersonal relationship. It’s often much more the patterns of our inferiority the lack of balance of the male/female’s principle of our inner self, as well as the sometimes deep duality of our conscious/unconscious, that can bring disharmony in our relationships. I try to show that, the transcendental part of us, the hand of fate, or whatever you want to call it, can play an essential role to help us to recover balance if we are open to this possible aspect of existence. The idea suggested is that maybe by becoming deeply aware of it, then succeeding in letting go our own egotistic will, we possibly can free ourselves from what makes boundaries to experience Love.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping out with this film?
First of all, I want to thank the great French actor and filmmaker Daniel Duval, who I’ve loved and admired for a long time, as he believed in my project and was the first to accept to play one of the characters. It gave me great confidence as a beginner. I also thank actress Camille Figuereo, actors Etienne Fague, Jando Graziani as they have been so enthusiastic since the beginning. A special thanks goes to actor Joel Virgel who lives in Los Angeles and came to Paris for shooting. I also deeply thank music composer Thierry Fauchard with who I had a deep [connection], as well as editor Rodolphe Molla.
I also want to thank every single person of the crew with a special gratefulness to my first assistant Stephane Chaput, my cinematographer Antoine Carpentier, my two sound engineers Thomas Buet and Xavier Thieulin, my script supervisor Jocelyne Riviere and my color timer Gregoire Lesturgie.
How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?
I’m very happy, thankful and honored that NewFilmmakers LA appreciates Le Train Bleu. It’s a thrill that my film will be screened in the heart of Hollywood, in such a mythical place. I feel joy and gratitude, and also a sense of humility thinking of all the well-known cinema figures that have worked there through the times.
What inspires you?
In movies, I like the painting of human relationships’s complexity and like above all when poetry, humor, dream and symbolics invite themselves in the story. Music is also a great source of inspiration for me.
Who are your influences and who do you admire?
The directors who have made a mark on me are many. Kurosawa, Chaplin, Lang, Ozu, Wilder, Visconti, Tati, Clement, Sautet, Zulawski, Coppola, Scorsese, Gilliam, Wenders, Campion are the main, but certainly not the only ones.
What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?
I have learned many many things and I’m still learning every day… So, the first lesson is that I have much more to learn! So far in terms of experience, I think that the most powerful experience from directing a film is, being on a set, when suddenly you can reach magicin the air. It happens or not. That’s another lesson, those kind of moments are gifts that we cannot create just by ourselves.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
I would like to renew a collaboration with Daniel Duval and would appreciate to collaborate with actors … let me dream … as Sean Penn and Gary Oldman for the Americans, and as François Cluzet and Thierry Fremont for the French. About French actresses, I would turn my choice to Juliette Binoche and Nathalie Baye, and if I let myself dream about American actresses, it would be Scarlett Johansson and Susan Sarandon.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
While I was really at the beginning of writing Le Train Bleu and talking about it shyly to a friend, the best advice I received from him was, “Don’t procrastinate!”. The second best advice I received, this time from Daniel Duval, was “Be confident, every film finds its own path”.
What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?
Dream, make your dream become reality (means work hard!), be passionate and perfectionist, believe in yourself, learn to listen to criticism, stay calm and keep faith when everything goes wrong, and, as much as you can, have fun!
Where can we expect to see you next?
I am actually looking for a co-production for my second short film. I have also start developing a new screenplay (feature) and work out a video clip project with musicians friends of mine.
Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.
Le Train Bleu has its official website and also a Facebook page.
The trailer is available on YouTube
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for your questions and I hope that the audience at NewFilmmakers LA will feel the same pleasure screening Le Train Bleu as I have been feeling myself making it.