Charlotte Dupré


Les Ruches - Feature Doc

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Les Ruches - Feature Doc

Seed&Spark campaign:

Charlotte Dupre -- Director & Cinematographer
Charlotte Dupré -- Producer
Nicolas Dupré -- Producer
Charlotte Dupré -- Key Cast “Self”
M Dupré -- Key Cast -- “Self”
G Dupré -- Key Cast -- “Self”
Jonathan Hinterberger -- Colorist
Jonathan Hinterberger -- Sound Mixing
Rachael Ramchand -- Graphic & Poster Designer

Director Statement

Les Ruches is about love and finding happiness at a difficult point in time, during the covid lockdown period. It is about going back to your roots and finding what makes you who you are. It is also about making a movie without any resources, letting the art be itself when traditional tools are simply not available.

This is my first time directing and producing, as I am normally a Cinematographer. I found myself having to go back home to get some family support during the covid lockdown period, and unexpectedly ended up staying with my grandparents. When France entered phase one of reopening, we were allowed to travel within a 100km radius and so we took the car and left Lyon for my grandparents’ cottage house in Ardèche. We spent two weeks there, not knowing what the state of the world would be by the end of it. I became conscious that the moment we were about to live was going to be very special and realized that I wanted to capture that magical time we shared, knowing that I had no other tools and resources available other than my phone and the 17 euro tripod I bought online before leaving and that I would probably have to be part of it, being in front of the camera.

The movie found me more than I planned it. The strategy was to just capture the whole journey almost as if I was doing an Instagram story, using my skills as a cinematographer but also forgetting the constraints of the job. The aim was to be a grandchild before a Cinematographer, I wanted to live the moment before shooting it.

My idea was to shoot with an iPhone vertically, with no crew and no resources, and not letting obstacles such as getting old or diseases get in the way of being happy, and use them as the main tool to tell the story.

In the 21st century people shoot their daily lives in vertical, 9:16, and put them on social media. Reality has become verticalized and it felt natural to do the same. The choice of the music, a Chiptune track recorded on a Gameboy, is also going in that direction.

Coming from a mostly European background and because I lived near Belgium as a child, I remember watching TV documentary series like Strip-tease, but also directors like the Dardenne Brothers with Rosetta that really impacted me. Both like to blur the line between documentary and fiction, but they are also very resourceful in how to tell a realistic story with the tools available to them. Over time it became a strong part of my identity as a Cinematographer as well as a Director here. This is why I naturally ended up shooting this documentary like I would shoot a fiction that felt like a documentary. I also wanted to leave the time and space through the shots and the edit for the audience to think about their own lives, my personal story being almost less important, and to make them reflect on this experience of the pandemic and the lockdown, and on what love, life, family and happiness means to them.

After shooting and editing the movie myself, I was able to go back to New York and started a Seed&Spark campaign to begin the post-production. Thanks to all the donors I could hire a post-production team (I was finally not alone in that process anymore), and I was able to complete the movie.

To conclude, I wanted to point out something that I haven’t talked about yet: the fact that I am queer and an immigrant and how it impacts this movie. I feel this movie has been made out of my own normality. Normality for us is in itself a victory it is important for me that we can represent ourselves just like that as well.

This film talks about the important and yet small things in life that are crucial to happiness. The whole process is so special that the end product is absolutely unique, authentic, and full of surprise and hope.