What was the inspiration for this story? When did it first occur to you to set the film in 1979?
I think it started when I lost my father. I wanted to make a film about grief and nostalgia that was different and fun. Since the lives of gay men in their 40s and 50s have been hit particularly hard by AIDS and most have lost many friends, I thought it would be interesting to go back to the freedom and innocence of the pre-AIDS era, to have a disco setting for the film. It seemed a good way to illustrate this idea of nostalgia, remembering loved ones in their happiest moments. The film is an attempt to use the past in order to look ahead in a positive light. And disco is so much fun.
How long did it take you to write the script and the lyrics to the songs?
I have no idea. I wrote it intermittently over several months, so it's hard to say.
How long was the entire process of the film, from conception to post production?
About 2 and a half years. Making a film is an extremely long process. It's hard to believe that I have almost finished.
Did you have any difficulties getting Jérôme for the film?
No. Luckily for me, I think he liked the script right from the start.
Why did you want Jérôme for the film?
Firstly, he's very talented. Secondly, he's very smart. I like the way he has the ability to listen to what is suggested to him and somehow manages to integrate those suggestions into the character. Actually, he doesn't need very much direction. Basically, we just discussed the story, aspects of his character and the general mood of the film before we started. Another thing is that Jérôme is a lot of fun to work with and I just love to tease him!
How large is your production team?
About 25 people, I think.
And how large is the cast of Pardisco?
Was it difficult working with such a large cast/crew?
Well, yes, it was a big crowd, but most of the actors are friends of mine which made the task much easier. In fact, it was a real pleasure. Everyone was really nice and sweet, but then again, that could be because I was really nice to them as well. There was a lot of mutual respect.
What provided the greatest challenge in making a musical short and were their aspects that were easier/more difficult than you had anticipated?
Well, working with choreography was new to me, so that was really challenging, but Patricia Delon and Laurent Doëzy were so nice and easy to work with, that it made it much easier. Also, being a musical, there is the problem of coordinating the lip-synching together with the choreography and that was very challenging, not to mention, of course, all the usual challenges of film making, such as camera angles, lighting, acting costumes and make up also have to be addressed. The week we filmed was very intense, but I'm not complaining. I'm very glad I made this film.
What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect in making this short?
Tonight is the first screening of the film. If the cast and crew are pleased, that will be the greatest reward. I enjoyed working with them so much, so it is very important to me that they like the final product.
What are your plans for distribution? In addition to having made a DVD, will you be entering any festivals or competitions?
There are already half a dozen screenings planned
in November and December. Paradisco will be
shown at the Gay Film Festivals of Lille and
Paris, it will also be shown in Villeurbanne
and Fécamp. It will be broadcast on Canal
Plus on December 5 and Canal Plus Belgium and
Poland are supposed to be airing it as well.
Let's hope this is only the beginning.
Were there any funny incidents or interesting stories during the filming of Paradisco?
Well, there were a lot of funny things. One of the funniest moments was when the costume supervisor arrived at my place with tons of disco outfits, dresses, shirts, pants, accessories, all sorts. When the cast arrived, it was so much fun. We felt like we were playing with dolls (it brought out the little girl in all of us). It was really fun to pick up a garment and say to an actor, "why don't you try this on", and "oh, don't those shoes look great with those pants!" or "I think that outfit's a bit too tight"
What do you have lined up for the future, any more films or other sorts of projects?
I am currently writing a feature length film and following the trail of Paradisco! In the future, though, I would love to work with this cast again!