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L'Usine à films amateurs

Amateur Film Factory: Create your film in three hours

Through October 15
Published on
September 11, 2017
Famous French director Michel Gondry’s Amateur Film Factory has just landed in Montréal. The experience offers people the chance to produce their own short film in a few hours, in collaboration with a team of strangers. We followa father and son who gave the experience a try.

After Tokyo, Paris, São Paulo, New York, Moscow and Cannes, the Amateur Film Factory is set up until October 15 in Montreal. You have to register to participate, but it's free and, above all, exciting. "I had no idea what to expect," says Clovis, age 18.

Les rôles sont distribués parmi les participants

 "We don't often have the opportunity to see the world of film from the inside," explained Pascal, his father. "Creating a joint project with a group of strangers was very interesting to me."

The activity is divided into four timed parts. "The timer creates a pressure that forces us to plunge into action," says Pascal.

“The Train Station of the Stars”

To begin, participants are invited to visit the sets, and check out the costumes and accessories they'll work with. The group does not know each other. Their group includes Assiyah, a Vancouver artist who has just moved to Montreal; Jacopo, an Italian researcher who has lived in France for a long time; Joëlle, who works in events; and Sarah, who studies in cinema. The activity is for everyone. No need for special knowledge.

Un chef d'oeuvre fort prisé

At the brainstorming session during the first workshop, everyone shares their ideas. They have to share tasks, choose a title, decide on a genre and create a plot summary. The film will be a science fiction comedy titled "The Train Station of the Stars." The participants were inspired by the setting of the train station.

Nelly, the facilitator, encourages everyone to give their opinion. But time is running out, and they have to move on to the next step.

Timed workshops

At the second workshop, the team prepares the shooting. The roles are distributed.

"Everyone has to be involved," says Nelly.

Someone has the idea of ​​telling the story to the microphone rather than having characters play roles. The signs are written for the title of the film and the credits. Train tickets are drawn as accessories. The scenes are developed. The group refines the scenario where the two main characters will meet because of a misunderstanding. The actors  quickly put on their rabbit costumes. The story takes place in an absurd science fiction films that takes place on planets linked together by a train.

Forty-five minutes pass quickly. The timer sounds. We have to move on to the third stage: filming. No errors are allowed. Each film ending continues on to the next one – rewinding is prohibited.

Guaranteed fun

On y trouve même des décors en mouvement

Everyone is running around. Clovis holds the camera. "It's not easy to learn how to handle the device in a matter of seconds," he says. Joëlle follows the script that the team has written together. Everyone is concentrating. Pascal reminds us that time is running out. It will be necessary to cut a few corners to get to the end. Together, the participants decide to shorten the ending. Restrictions are part of the experience!

The timer sounds. It's time to turn in the film and finalize the cover of the DVD. The team gathers in a small room for the screening of their film.

 "It's exciting," says Pascal. "We've discovered that in just a few hours, we can succeed in creating a storyline that entertains people we don't know." The result makes everyone laugh!

The "Train Station of the Stars" masterpiece is available in the Amateur Film Factory Video Club's shop through October 15.

The activity can be enjoyed with the family – but also with friends from work! Why not? Creating a project under pressure as is the case with the Amateur Film Factory teaches us a lot about ourselves and our relationship with others!

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