Interview with ERWAN LE GAL

Born 12 October 1968 Orleans FRANCE. audiovisual studies. (ETPA RENNES). self made man in Animation.


Your project has been recognized in European Short Awards. Could you please provide a brief overview of your project and its significance in the context of our festival?
Like my Master Frédéric Back, I try to raise public awareness of ecology. I am happy to be awarded at a European level. It is recognition for the quality of the film and the humanist messages it conveys...It also allows us to focus attention on the thorny subject of bees who are currently suffering ecological mistreatment throughout the world. Thank you for this award!

What were the key criteria or qualities you sought in selecting actors to participate in your film?
My film is carried by a primordial narration, in voice-over. I needed a great actress who could carry all this text and express different types of tones and inner feelings. Marie Josée Croze was always my first choice. I am very happy with his participation. His talent for interpretation gives a lot of warmth and sensitivity to my film. With the music, Marie-Jo is a bit like the soul of the film...

How did you collaborate and communicate with the cinematographer to achieve your desired visual style?
The aesthetic of my film is my style of drawing... I worked a lot on color with Erwan Le Boursicault who did the final colorimetry of the film. The color choices were a team effort. The animation, the script, the editing was really my own work. The sound in the film is essential, particularly the original music by Diane Poitrenaud. And a big thank you to Hilary Hahn who gave me her piece on Bach's violin, which has a real role in this story...
Can you elaborate on the choice of locations for your project and the significance behind those selections?
For my project I went to the island of Ouessant to meet the beekeepers: draw them in their work and discover the ecosystem where the black bees live there which are protected. I have studied bees a lot in books , to give credibility to my story. I had to make a choice to illustrate the legends of the bees, because there are many... The film also has a poetic dimension, in particular a tribute to women...

From your perspective, what unique qualities or aspects of your film make it a compelling choice for potential distributors?
I think my film is spectacular, visually beautiful and that it deals with an important subject for the general public. I therefore think that it may be of interest to distributors, for future television sales. My film does well in independent festivals: it has been selected in 38 countries, 160 official selections and more than 100 awards around the world. It’s a well-received film! It's reassuring, because it took me more than 10 years of work and 14,000 handmade drawings...

Could you discuss the artistic elements or expressions you incorporated into your project, and how they contribute to the overall characterization of your work?
First of all, a few years ago I showed my first script to my mentor, the Canadian filmmaker Frédéric Back. He advised me to convey my stories about bees, through a voice-over, which accompanies the viewer with my main female character ("Isabelle"). Then I went to Ouessant to draw the beekeepers. I also wanted to draw the legends about bees (Egypt, Ancient Greece, etc.) to show the fascination of humankind with the bee, which it must now protect. The ecology of bees is a universal problem. I also wanted to show the foragers and the flowers of the Breton island, a hymn to the beauty of the biodiversity that surrounds us and which we do not respect enough...


What initially inspired or motivated you to pursue a career in filmmaking?
The passion for animated cinema, the pleasure of drawing to tell a story, which we will bring to life by creating movements, life! The importance of transmitting ecology in an artistic and humanist way and reaching the general public. Do not make distracting films, but captivating ones to talk about a subject that speaks to us. Do not fall for the easy route, and remain demanding in relation to your work as a filmmaker. Also think about a certain ethics towards the spectator.
Are there any particular films or filmmakers that have greatly influenced or inspired your own work? If so, what aspects of their work resonate with you?
First of all, in animated cinema, the filmmakers Frédéric Back, Starewitch and Mc Laren are the ones who inspire me for my cartoons. I love Spielberg's universal poetry in his first films. I am fascinated by the immense artists of our profession: Chaplin, Kurosawa, Bergman, Miyazaki, Fellini. We must always study the great masters, because they are an inexhaustible source for each of us.

What genres do you find most creatively fulfilling to work within, and what draws you to these particular genres?
I like the marvelous, the stories, the fantastic, science fiction. I like films that make us think about humankind, and which exude a certain poetry. I like visual, daring and inventive cinema.

When you're not immersed in filmmaking, what are some of your other interests or hobbies?
I like long walks in Nature (Sea, Forest)...I like literature and painting. I love music and I draw all the time. I make time for my friends and loved ones. Teaching others is also a big part of my life. And I’m a fan of Ozamu Tezuka (a genius!).

Lastly, could you share any insights or plans you have for future projects?
My next project is a trilogy on the color red... Three 5-minute cartoons, like children's stories, but for all audiences. The main character is a brave little bird. The first story is called "THE RED FLOWER" loosely inspired by Kipling's "JUNGLE BOOK"... But I can't tell you more.