6 Questions to… Héloïse Fressoz


Héloïse Fressoz wrote for theater before graduating from La Fémis Film School in 2021, where she made her first short film “Un mois après la nuit.” Today, she co-writes with different filmmakers while at the same time developing her own projects. Questions of youth in relation to the territory are very present in her films that often take the shape of inquiries or investigations.

Tara Karajica sat down with Héloïse Fressoz at this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and discussed her short film “Malandrin” that played in the National Competition program at the festival.



 How did you get into filmmaking and what inspires you?

Héloïse Fressoz: I used to go to the cinema and write a lot and I had this idea that I didn’t want to write novels. I knew I wanted to write for moving images. At first, I worked for a theater company, and then I got into La Fémis, in the screenwriting department. I was quite the cinephile, but I didn’t know anything about directing. From this, because I met a young producer there, I could make my first short film. So, I discovered that I wanted to direct my own stories myself. Ever since then, I have been only writing from my own very personal experiences. I’m writing a lot about the region my family’s from – between Savoy and Isère – and it’s where I shot this film. So, I write from places I know. I like when stories are very anchored in a territory, and they are as much about the characters as they are about the place.

Can you talk about your short film, Malandrin?

H.F.: Actually, I was working on another short film, very well-produced, and it was very long. I had been waiting for two years, rewriting it… I thought I wanted to direct another film in the meantime, in a freer way of thinking and crafting it. I wanted to film this very tiny village my family’s from that I know very well, and there is a residency for young directors just next to this place. This has allowed me to write and make this film very quickly, with only one DoP and one sound engineer. We were three in the crew, actually. And so, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to work very deeply with the actors. This was the main idea. I wrote it for the actress who’s a great friend of mine, and I thought it was an opportunity to make a comedy, to make a film that is not as deep as the others. So, the idea was to make fun of how I saw this region, a gaze in which I project a lot. I wanted to create a sort of double character that is this relationship with the territory, a relationship based on fantasy, and to play with Lucie Gallo, the actress, on how I immerse her in this territory and how we make comedy based on the fact that she is obsessed with this place while distancing herself from it at the same time.

How do you see the short form today?

H.F.: For this precise film, I think it’s a film that could only exist in the short form because we were reinventing everything all the time. In working with non-professional actors, the short form allowed us to shoot in this very free way.

What is your opinion on women in film today?

H.F.: At my film school, there were as many women as there were men. In the years after school, the hiring rate of women was lower than that of men, even if we had started from the same point. Obviously, this is changing now. But my question is about the stories that young female filmmakers are allowed to direct. What stories? What budgets? Because women who make films, there are many. But during my studies, I was sometimes under the impression that there were stories that were, in the eyes of older people, less legitimate for a young woman to tell.

Who is your favorite female filmmaker and what is your favorite film by a female filmmaker?

H.F.: I love the films of Claire Denis, Alice Rohrwacher and Alice Diop, especially Saint Omer, which I really liked.

What are your next projects?

H.F.: I’m shooting another short film, which is very different, in one month. It’s a fantasy drama set in the same region. I’m also working on my first feature with my co-writer.


Photo credits: Courtesy of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

This interview was conducted at the 2024 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. 


Tara Karajica

Tara Karajica is a Belgrade-based film critic and journalist. Her writings have appeared in "Indiewire," "Screen International," "Variety," "Little White Lies" and "Film New Europe," among many other media outlets, including the European Film Academy’s online magazine, "Close-up" and Eurimages. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists as well as the recipient of the 2014 Best Critic Award at the Altcine Action! Film Festival. In September 2016, she founded "Yellow Bread," a magazine dedicated entirely to short films, ranked among the 25 Top Short Film Blogs and Websites on the Planet in 2017. In February 2018, she launched "Fade to Her," a magazine about successful women working in Film and TV and in 2019, she was a member of the Jury of the European Shooting Stars (European Film Promotion). She is currently a programmer for live action shorts at PÖFF Shorts, Head of the Short Film Program and Live Action Shorts programmer at SEEFest and Narrative Features Programmer at the Durban International Film Festival. Tara is a regular at film festivals as a film critic, moderator and/or jury member.

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