EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling directors who have films screening at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
Screening in the World Narrative Competition at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, director Delphine Kreuter makes her feature film debut with “57,000 Kilometers Between Us.” Kreuter, a photographer and video artist, takes on the idea of connecting in today’s world by following one dysfunctional family. Kreuter talked to indieWIRE about the film and her hopes for its North American premiere at Tribeca.
In the Tribeca catalog, TFF artistic director Peter Scarlet writes that “though [the plot] sounds
like the red meat of many a ‘quirky’ American indie, in Kreuter’s hands the story feels disarmingly new. Her means are digital, her method purposeful randomness, her material aggressively au courant, seamlessly comprising transsexualism, global adoption, webcams, and multiplayer gaming.”
What initially attracted you to filmmaking?
I was taking photos and writing short pieces of theater that we would act out in the street. One day, I wrote a story that couldn’t be performed in the street, so I shot it on film. What I discovered was a sense of movement, the ability to develop a story over time, an overall freedom that I didn’t have with photography where it all comes down to a precise moment in time. And now I have the irrepressible desire to dig deeper, to go further with what I’ve learned.
What was the inspiration for 57,000 Kilometers Between Us?”
I was surfing the internet at a friend’s house about 7 years ago when I began to ask myself what could make people want to expose themselves online, and why other people want to see that. From there, I thought about the fact that two people at opposite ends of the earth can meet each other, or that you can “meet” your neighbor online without ever meeting him in real life. I realized that I could use the internet to create relationships that would otherwise be improbable, and in turn use those relationships to discuss life more generally.
Please elaborate a bit on your approach to making the film…
For me, making a film is above all writing a story, finding the locations and the actors, arranging the lighting, taking a camera and filming. Staging a story. I like the idea that it can be simple, even if in actuality it’s not as simple as all that!
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing the project?
Over the course of 5 years, I was constantly asked to rewrite my script in order to obtain more money from different institutions, TV channels, etc, and my answer was always no. In the end, I wrote it one last time while keeping in mind the resources that I had at my disposal, and we filmed with the help of a contemporary art collector. It was only after completing the film that we received the support of the CNC, and heard ‘yes’ from those who had earlier said ‘no.’ The big challenge was getting the film made, and having it reach an audience.
What are your goals for the Tribeca Film Festival?
For people to like the film, for it to bring them something, for someone to want to distribute it outside of France so that it can travel and continue to live- and, as a result of all that, to be able to make a second film, maybe even in NY!