By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood September 9, 2013 at 2:00PM
Anne Weil has worked as an editor on such films as Seaside (02), Toi et moi (06), Actrices (07), and A Castle in Italy (12). She has directed the short film Une cuilleree pour papa (92) and co-directed Friends from France (13).
Friends From France is playing as part of the Contemporary World Cinema program at TIFF.
Women and Hollywood: Please give us a description of the film playing at TIFF.
Anne Weil: Carole and Jerome are cousins and pretend to be engaged to travel undercover in USSR. They are not secret agents but they are supposed to meet "refuzniks," soviet Jews persecuted by the regime. This singular journey will change their lives and their vision of reality forever.
WaH: What drew you to this script?
AW: I personally made a trip to the USSR in the late seventies, I was 18 and I discovered what dictatorship really meant. I had the desire to testify about it in the context of a very peculiar love story.
WaH: What was the biggest challenge?
AW: The biggest challenge was to balance the political backdrop and the sentimental issue.
WaH: What advice do you have for other female directors?
AW: To choose very carefully the members of the crew to maintain and enrich your personal vision of your film. Some crew members are very used to male authority and may, sometimes involuntarily, ask for it.
WaH: What's the biggest misconception about you and your work?
AW: It is my first feature film, I don't know yet but I am anxious to discover it...
WaH: What are the biggest challenges and or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?
AW: There is a huge amount of films available today (internet, VOD, movie TV channels …) and we can certainly rejoice about it. But the digital era is fueling mass culture. In this context, how can we preserve independent movies?
WaH: Name your favorite women directed film and why.
AW: Jane Campion, for her creativity, her poetry and aesthetics, her deep sensitivity and the strength of her characters.
Lucrecia Martel, I do admire her. She deals with uneasy family relationships with maestria.
Andrea Arnold, for a certain mix of documentary and fiction.
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, for her fantasy, her tragic-comic mindset and her irreverent tone.