Mathilde Bédouet graduated from the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris in Animated Cinema. After working for three years in an agency, Bédouet now works on her own as a director and illustrator, particularly for the press.
At this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Tara Karajica talked to Mathilde Bédouet about her short film “Été 96” that screened in the National Competition program.
How did you get into filmmaking and what inspires you?
Mathilde Bédouet: I have been drawing ever since I can remember! But, compared to other kids, I’ve never stopped. I chose to do study Animation when I realized I can give life to my drawings. It was such a joy for me to discover that and to be able to live from my passion! I find a lot of inspiration in my own life. My films are very inspired by my own experiences. I’m passionate about the transitional moments in life such as childhood and adolescence. They have remained as very vivid sensations in my mind.
Can you talk about your short film, Été 96?
M.B.: With Été 96, I wanted to make a film about memories. It’s inspired by my own childhood memories. I found in the basement an old videotape of our family holidays. In the videos, the island in Brittany where I spent a lot of my summers as a child, was very present. It reminded me a lot of very joyful memories but also all the stories and mystery around this island. I also wanted to talk about this strange moment in life when you’re not a kid anymore, but you’re not an adult yet either. This moment of huge loneliness, when you understand that you have to count on yourself and that the adults, the parents, are not the superheroes we thought they were! To make this short film, I used the technique of rotoscopy. We filmed with actors and then, I re-drew the entirety of the film with color pencils on paper using a light table.
How do you see the short form today?
M.B.: I think short films are a great laboratory to experiment with ideas and techniques. I made several music clips and it led me to my technique and this first short film. As animation takes a lot of time, my next film will be, once again, a short film. But I hope I’ll have the chance to make a feature film one day!
What is your opinion on women in film today?
M.B.: I’ve seen a lot of wonderful films directed by women. Each time, I’m very moved and touched by a film once I realize it’s a woman who directed it! In my next film, I really want to adopt a female point of view. I’ve thought about and worked a lot on it lately. I’m always surprised as to how we’ve integrated the male gaze in the way we direct our films, even female directors. I think we have to keep fighting to help women make films. The numbers are demoralizing. At school, there are a lot of girls studying Film Directing, but as years go by, we see less and less films directed by women.
Who is your favorite female filmmaker and what is your favorite film by a female filmmaker?
M.B.: I absolutely loved After sun directed by Charlotte Wells. It’s so graceful, graphic and deep at the same time. I also loved amà Gloria directed by Marie Amachoukeli. So powerful, sweet and subtle – it moved me a lot! In animation, I admire the work of Céline Devaux.
What are your next projects?
M.B.: I’ve just finished the script of my next short film. It will be the same technique as my previous film, but it will be twice as long. This film will be about friendship and love. We follow two girls who are best friends and their first romantic experiences. But also the dark side of this experience. Once again, my subject concerns these significant moments between two periods of life.
Photo credits: Courtesy of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
This interview was conducted at the 2024 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.