After last night’s screening, the whole Plume & Pellicule gang enjoyed a boat ride, concert and dinner in St Léonard’s well known underground river. Traditionally the last day is reserved for a group outing and this year was no different. The sights offered by Swiss Tourism, and hosted by its representative Federico Sommaruga, continued with this year’s outing to Lake Geneva for a cocktail cruise and a trip up the mountain for a breathtaking view of the lake from the top.An elegant evening was in store, with the sponsor cocktail, to thank all the sponsors who helped make Plume & Pellicule 20012 a reality. The Chateau Mercier staff treated everyone to a beautiful candle lit dinner, with their usual warmth and impeccable service. Plume & Pellicule would not be the same without this wonderful team, headed by Chef Antonio Guerra, assisted by Maria Circelli and Hanane Inacio.
Today was the last work day for Plume & Pellicule. Participants and consultants finished up their final consultations and by five in the afternoon, there was a collective sigh heard throughout the castle both from a release of concentration after a week of hard work and from a tinge of sadness that it was already all over.
Today’s screening included the short, “Missing You”, directed by DreamAgo’s very own Maggie Soboil, followed by the Spanish film, “Amador”, with its Goya winning writer-director Fernando León de Aranoa. A beautifully poetic, philosophical look at the reoccurring theme of death giving way to life, present throughout the films presented this week, “Amador” marks the perfect ending to a highly appreciated program of screenings.
For the second day in a row, consultant Maggie Soboil conducted her Acting in 3-D workshop for all the participants, in groups of four. After meeting with them throughout the week to find a pivotal scene in each of their scripts, Maggie works this scene with each screenwriter using actors and fellow screenwriters to improvise the scenes to get to the emotional truth of the characters. This workshop gives writers the rare opportunity to become their characters, thereby giving them a deeper understanding of their character’s motivations and point of view. A safe and nurturing atmosphere allows writers to risk and explore their characters freely. To see Maggie talking about her experience at Plume & Pellicule, check out following webcast (see left).
After the short, “Ruth”, from Swiss-Egyptian director, Tamer Ruggli, the audience was thrilled to see screenwriter Jihad Hojeily again, for “Caramel”. As opposed to his previous dramatic film earlier this week, “Caramel” is a light, warmhearted peek into the lives of four Lebanese women who work in a beauty salon and the colorful surrounding neighborhood. The movie is an ode to the hometown of screenwriter, Jihad, and director, Nadine Labaki, as we can clearly see during the closing titles with the dedication, “to my Beirut”.
It’s hard to believe that P&P ’12 is already at the midway point but today’s group meeting, always held at the middle of the screenwriting lab, makes it hard to ignore. Participants and consultants met with the organizational team to share any thoughts, questions or feedback that anyone had about the lab thus far. The richness of the encounters, the quality of the consultations, and the warmth of the organizers were common threads running through the discussion, as was the metaphor of family. With his usual humor, one of our consultants Carl Gottlieb, screenwriter for Jaws, The Jerk, sums it up nicely (see video) with his version of the family metaphor and of the unique experience of Plume & Pellicule that sets it apart from other screenwriting labs.
After a full day of screenings, (see program in French [link cinephile]), the film screened this evening was directed by one of our very own consultants, Benoȋt Pilon. The film, “Ce qu’il faut pour vivre” (The Necessities of Life), in the running for the Oscar for foreign film, ironically the same year as yesterday’s film, Departures, depicts the Inuit’s plight in the 1950’s when many contracted tuberculosis and were sent far away from their northern homelands, to sanatoriums “down south” in Quebec. Pilon’s poignant film follows one Inuit man, Tiivii and his struggle not only with the horrible disease but with trying to adapt to a language, a culture and an environment so completely different from his own.
It was a big day for events in the town of Sierre today. Of course the writers, with their demanding schedule of consultations, were still busy at work in the castle, a cocoon of creative stimulation. But for the townspeople, the morning started off with the “Café Ciné” , a public Q&A with Marie Fugain. Marie is a French actress who wrote a book about the difficulty she experienced, as an older sibling, in the mourning process of her younger sister, who died of leukemia. The coffee house was packed, standing room only, as was the book signing that took place later in the day.
The afternoon screening paid tribute to director Yvon Marciano, a French director and also a DreamAgo member who died earlier this year in the presence of his producer and script supervisor, Chloé Perlemuter. The evening’s screening included Loïc Nicoloff’s short (“Le second seuil”, The Second Threshold) a humorous look at the afterlife, and the main event, was the Oscar winning Japanese film, “Departures” in the presence of screenwriter Kundô Koyama. This film offers a tender view of the unusual profession of “encoffinment”, a ritualized preparation of the deceased. A taboo subject in Japan, this movie gives honor back to a profession that has been, in modern times, considered impure, and has encouraged a return of the Japanese people to their traditions and roots, as this ceremony has increased in popularity since the release of this film.
To round out the evening there was a screening at 10 pm of “Nightmare before Christmas” in the presence of Olivier Constantin, the actor who dubbed the voice of Mr Jack, the leading character, for the French version. In order to benefit from Constatin’s talents, DreamAgo, who usually only screens films in their original version, screen Tim Burton’s iconic film in French so that everyone could understand the enormous involved in dubbing. Olivier, a talented singer and actor was on hand to answer audience questions.
While the writers continued their intensive consultation sessions in the castle, film students and members of the DreamAgo cinephiles benefitted from the “Master class”, a P&P event that gives accessibility to the young people of the region to a film industry professional, in this case Pierre Befve, a French producer. DreamAgo president, Pascale Rey, created this opportunity because of her desire to reach out to young people, and as she says, “you never know when an encounter can change your life”.
The evening screening of “Le fils de l’autre” (literal translation: The Son of the Other), a moving story of a Jewish family in Israel who find out that their eighteen year old son was switched at birth with another boy who turns out to be Palestinian. The families have to overcome their initial shock and mutual differences to accept their newfound biological sons into their family while the boys themselves must struggle with their new identity. On hand was Jules Sitruk, a young French actor who plays the Jewish son, to talk about the film and answer audience questions.
Day 2 – Official beginning – P&P launches!
The first official day of Plume & Pellicule 2012! Consultants and participants settled in different corners of the Chateau and the gardens to discuss each of the screenplays. Every participant will benefit from a consultation with all of the consultants present, thereby getting various points of view and precious feedback that will help them get their script, “screen ready”, which is, of course, what DreamAgo is all about.
In the picturesque town hall of Sierre the official launch took place with a VIP cocktail that brought together city and county officials, distinguished guests, and the whole P&P contingent. The first official screening included Hugo Chesnard’s short called, “La France qui se lève tôt”, a Cesar (France’s Oscar) nominated musical about illegal aliens and the Lebanese film, “Et maintenant on va oú?”, a touching film that navigates the fine line between comedy and tragedy with a story about mothers in a village, both Christian and Muslim, who will stop at nothing to prevent their men from fighting over religious differences, having lost already too many of their sons and husbands.
Day 1 – Arrivals
Plume & Pellicule is back for its eighth year and its 2012 edition! Today was “arrival day” as participants and consultants from all over the world, sixteen nationalities in all, made their way to Sierre, a Swiss town nestled in the snow capped Alps. At La Grotte, a breathtakingly situated restaurant, overlooking the banks of the Lac de Geronde, the Plume & Pellicule team, led by its President, Pascale Rey, greeted the first batch of the staggered arrivals that continued all day and into the evening. During the evening’s welcome cocktail, participants got a chance to get acquainted while accompanied by the jazzy tunes of piano player, Urbain Salamin and the wine tasting led by Dominique Fornage.DreamAgo’s unique screenwriting lab, the “Plume” (or quill) aspect of Plume & Pellicule, takes place at the beautiful Chateau Mercier (link) where the participants eat, sleep and breathe screenwriting. An informal atmosphere allows the maximum of spontaneous exchanges between the participants themselves, as well as with consultants and guests, over sumptuous meals by resident chef, Antonio Guerra. The actual start of the workshop will begin tomorrow where consultations will take place all day and the screenings, the “Pellicule” (or film) will debut in the evening. Every evening and some afternoons thereafter, screenings will be held for the town, free of cost, with a Q&A at the end with the guest, a director, actor, or screenwriter, for each film.For more screening information please visit the page “Plume & Pellicule – Projections” or our sister website for the festival (French only) at www.cinephilesdreamago.com.