[February 3 2017] : love
The young French Chilean filmmaker Fiona Godivier exclusively speaks to Purple Television about her latest project “Across My Land,” starring Timothy V. Murphy, Preston Bailey, Summer Phoenix and Gaia Peddy.
Produced by Random Bench, Micheal Tubbs and Joaquin Phoenix with the participation of Premiere Heure, this short film, which was shot between LA and Nogales, Arizona, tells the story of a American family living along the U.S.-Mexico border, documenting the dramatic reality of the immigrants facing racism and violence.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – Is it your first major project?
FIONA GODIVIER – This my second short film. My first one is called “Deep Down” from 2014 with Breana Mcdow, Michael Maize, and the voice over by Scarlett Johansson. It’s the story of a stripper called America, lost in the very depths of the U.S., taken away by a devastating love-story. The film did very well in festivals such as LA Film Fest, Austin, Raindance in England and we won “Best Experimental” in Toronto TIFF.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE –Tell me about the genesis of “Across My Land”.
FIONA GODIVIER – Traveling through Europe, like in Greece, I had the chance to see the walls and borders that different countries have set up to protect their houses or territories.
It really shocked me that people still think like this. To built a wall can not be a way to protect a country and keep immigration out! I feel like there’s been no progress from the Middle Ages in our mentalities. So I started to be quite obsessed with borders and walls around the world.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – Why did you focus on the U.S.-Mexico border in particular?
FIONA GODIVIER – It got my attention because It’s one of the biggest and most expensive borders we have today, and this makes its existence even more ridiculous. It’s a subject that puts together all the most delicate and rooted problems in America like racism, immigration, guns and education. On the American side, a lot militia like the Minutemen decided to take up arms to “protect” America and chase illegal immigrants trying to cross that border. So I started going out to Arizona, to a place called Nogales, and joining the Border Patrol to see what it was really about.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – So what did you see there?
FIONA GODIVIER – I spent most of my time with the media co-ordinator for the Border Patrol, she’s a latino immigrant to America. We spent an entire week on Border Watch. I’m quite sure she only let me see the reality she wanted to publicize but she did a good job explaining how the system works. In Tucson, I met a taxi driver. He’s one of the most racist men I’ve known so far and he’s very pro gun, he would say things like “guns have never killed anyone”. People can be extremely closed-minded down there.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – America is experiencing a profound political crisis right now. Are you trying to send out a message?
FIONA GODIVIER – I just wanted to tell a story and make a realistic portrait about a American family living at the border. But I understand this is a political story, even more since Donald Trump got elected because we all know a border wall between the US and Mexico was one of his major campaign promises.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – How did you meet Joaquin Phoenix ?
FIONA GODIVIER – We met through some friends in LA and became friends. I submitted my project to him when I was looking for financing. He has been really supportive, helping me to develop it and find the finance I needed by introducing me to Michael Tubbs, who finally produced the film.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – When did you realize you wanted to make films?
FIONA GODIVIER – I first got into 3D Animation but It was too much about technology and computer stuff. So I’d rather take a camera and started filming and editing short videos by myself. I’m mostly interested in films and documentaries inspired by social and political issues. I’m really into Ken Loach, Jacques Audiardor Alan Clarke, Werner Herzog, Adam Curtis… and I really love the work of the Chilean director Patricio Guzman.
VALERIA DELLA VALLE – Do you have any upcoming projects?
FIONA GODIVIER – I’m currently working on a new feature film about the women in FARC in South America.
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