Based in Montreal, Marie-Ève Juste worked at the Cinémathèque Québécoise between 2003 and 2007, where she first got familiar with cinema history and practice. In 2011, she co-directed her first short film, Summer Day, with Félix Dufour-Laperrière. With Jeff, her second short film, premiered at Cannes’ 2012 Director’s Fortnight. The Sands is her third film. (TIFF official site)
The 21-minute short The Sands will play at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8.
WaH: Please give us your description of the film playing.
MEJ: A group of friends retreat to a cottage for a weekend in the woods, and tensions rise when the presence of a newcomer — the black, much younger boyfriend of one of the group — elicits unthinking acts of deprecation.
WaH: What drew you to this story?
MEJ: I wanted to write a film about two strange yet terrible feelings: fear and humiliation. Also, I wanted to write a film about how difficult it is to escape from social roles and archetypes.
WaH: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
MEJ: I’d say that writing the script was probably the biggest challenge because I wanted to stay on the thin line where the characters could be mean but not grotesque.
WaH: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?
MEJ: If the film can only bring people to think about it when they are leaving the theatre, I’ll be happy.
WaH: What advice do you have for other female directors?
MEJ: Don’t be afraid.
WaH: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?
MEJ: That female films are autobiographical.
WaH: How did you get your film funded?
MEJ: I had the tremendous chance to be funded by two Quebecois public institutions: SODEC and Québec Arts Council.
WaH: Name your favorite women directed film and why.
MEJ: Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum is not only one of my favorite women-directed films, but one of my favorite films because of the intelligence of the simple storytelling and the sensual poetry of everyday life.