"Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans." John Lennon
I really like this quote from John Lennon because it reminds us of the need to live in the moment and to be attentive to details that are often trivial, but which can have a significant impact on our life and that of the people around us.
"With an open heart" is my first feature film of fiction. The project was born out of my love for the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, my desire to make these sublime regions known to a wider audience, and the luck I had to obtain the agreement of Michel Jonasz. Michel is one of the biggest french singers and an accomplished actor having played in dozens of movies, TV series and theatre.
I have always been passionate about cinema. From the age of 13 or 14, I wrote reviews on the films I saw during the week. The cinemas have always been for me, almost magical places of contemplation, where I could share with other people in the room, the vision, the emotions and the ideas of the filmmakers. At the age of 20, I took the courses of assistant director at the Free Conservatory of French Cinema and I wrote my first screenplay, "The test", based on Richard Matheson's short story. At the time, I was feeding on cinema and my main influences were the films of Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Claude Sautet, Sergio Leone, John Cassavetes.
I had to wait until the age of 58 to make my first documentary feature "Your Second Fifty, Rising Above the fears of Aging" after which I followed in quick succession 2 other feature films: "To Life , Death and Beyond: The Music Of Magma "and" On a Scale of 1 to 10 ". I'm in final post-production on our fourth film, a legacy project about famous Alberta businessman Gerry Levasseur. Gerry, now 87 years old and still active, has contributed significantly to the development of the tourism sector in this province, in particular the Jasper and Maligne Lake area, where certain scenes of the film are going to be filmed. Gerry, his family and his associates, agreed to help me with logistical support for the filming of the film in this region of Alberta.
Michel Jonasz's songs have always inspired me a lot and have been part of my life for over 40 years. There are recurring themes there, in particular in relation to the passage of time, a topic that fascinates me and which was my primary motivation behind the making of my first film "Your Second Fifty". His vision of life, romantic and deeply humanist, touches me a lot and the title of the film comes from his song "Groove Baby Groove" The title "With an open heart" posed itself on me in a natural way and it expresses this transformation which takes place between 2 characters having nothing in common at first glance, during an unforeseen road trip through the regions of the Okanagan, the Kootenays and the Canadian rocky mountains.
To express this contrast between the 2 characters, I chose a First Nations actor, Duane Howard, who was particularly noted for his performance in "The Revenant". This is a very important element for me because I want to express the spiritual dimension that I feel in relation to this region, as well as the highlighting of the power of nature, in contrast with the intellectual and urban side, represented by Michel Jonasz, who plays a fictional version of himself.
The character played by Duane is in fact the exact opposite of the character played by Michel Jonasz, but they are complementary. It interests me to show that behind appearances and the fact that these two characters are totally different, they will enrich themselves in contact with each other and come to live life fully.
The young Quebecois woman played by Rachel Michetti, serves as a catalyst in the film. She facilitates a connection between them and a beautiful friendship will arise from this road trip. Rachel's role is extremely important because she will push Michel and Duane to question themselves and to change certain aspects of their life, which in fact prevented them from living to their full potential. This sometimes creates uncomfortable situations, but one of my motivations is to show that a profound change can only be achieved through discomfort and by abandoning certain acquired habits.