One-on-one with filmmaker Yann les Jours on his music video 'For All We Know', and more.
Yann les Jours makes fiction and non-fiction films, and music videos. From 2011 to 2018 Yann les Jours directed documentation films for stage performances (for dance and theater). From 2020 he directed various music videos, films, and a series of reports for the Berlin-based Ukrainian NGO Vitsche, and the church based association Berlin Stadtmission. After premiering his first short film 'Répétitions' at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, his films and music videos have been presented at festivals such as LIFF Leeds International Film Festival, Ghent International Short Film festival, Under_the_Radar Vienna / Belvédère 21, Psarokokalo Athens ISFF, Bogotá Experimental Film Festival, Boston Short Film Festival...
iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
YLJ: “'For All We Know', a music video I've directed for a song by Mary Ocher in 2021.”
iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?
YLJ: “How to make a beautiful video for music that's already gorgeous, without challenging it in a conflictual way. That was my main challenge, and it was great to be able to talk about it to the author Mary Ocher who knows all about directing a film as she is also a director.”
iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
YLJ: “To be able to bring my documentary methods to the table to meet such a poetical achievement as the song by Mary Ocher. It was a perfectly matching strategy, since the realness of the images worked great as an evocative medium for echoing Mary's lyrics and melodies. Those lyrics were also able to inspire the ways in which I could work with the naturalistic footage, by adding special effects, shifting from black and white to color, and keeping an unusually low frame rate (15 frame per second instead of the conventional 24 fps). Collecting images from the "real" was definitely the right move, it took the song somewhere closer to viewer.”
Trailer 'For All We Know' (2021)
iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?
YLJ: “I've been filming and directing a lot of stage performance documentation without any previous academic training... I wasn't really considering it as 'filmmaking' at the time. But the more I got interested non-fictional filmmaking, the more I understood I was already deep in it. My first film for the cinema, "Repetitions", is an alternative edit of a job I had for documenting a stage performance. It premiered in Oberhausen in 2022.”
iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
YLJ: “Since this year I'm developing a series of projects about time and empathy. A short documentary should be released soon, then a cine-concert and a multichannel video installation should follow as part of that same trilogy.”
iFilmFestival: What role do film festivals play?
YLJ: “A big role ! It takes all of us back to what cinema has been for more than a century: a social event! Audiences need it (theaters are usually full of curious and diverse people), directors need it too, and organizers are doing awesome job in what is (and should always be) and loving and healthy "menage à trois"!”
iFilmFestival: What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
YLJ: “Be careful with your premiere. Be wild with what comes after.”
iFilmFestival: How do you see the future of film?
YLJ: “I see it expanding in terms of volume, diversity and media. There will be more directors, more films, more audiences. And we'll need more festivals, and every neighborhood, every month to keep that practice reaching its full potential.”
iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
YLJ: “Jonas Mekas... Maybe because we both relate with territories that aren't ours by making films? He started making films when he moved from Lithuania to NYC, I started making films when I moved from France to Berlin.”
iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
YLJ: “So many films impress me... Perhaps "Orlando, My Political Biography" by Paul B. Preciado seen at the last Berlinale.”
iFilmFestival: Thank you Yann for answering our questions!
Interview by iFilmFestival on 18/07/2023.