FILM = meaningful story. Poppy de Villeneuve: “Love is Like Life but Longer” (interview part 2)

Poppy de VilleneuveLove is Like Life but Longer
maja@tnf: Can we consider your film’s title a kind of artistic statement?

Poppy de Villeneuve: This varies project to project. Sometimes it is just a starting point and sometimes it explains everything. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I’m trying to give a current script a title and it’s always a struggle to sum up the work.

In the case of “Love is Like Life but Longer”, the title can mean whatever the viewer wants it to. It can be like a simple poem or a philosophy of life. For me, love is a wonderful, complex thing that keeps unfolding and growing, as my work does. This title is also a line within the short story from which it was adapted.

maja@tnf: Your film was commissioned by the Morgan’s Hotel Group for the opening of the Mondrian Soho. What did your commissioner expect from your work? Can your film be called an artistic commercial?
Poppy de Villeneuve: Morgan’s do many collaborations with artists and gave me free artistic range. They wanted the hotel to be a main character, which I acknowledged, and I think we fulfilled that agenda. I do feel it is an artistic commercial. Even though there are boundaries, I find that an exciting, challenging place to start work. As an artist, you often have to navigate the arenas of art and commerce to try and make a connection.
maja@tnf: Among your clients are a lot of famous companies, magazines, etc., among them New York Times T Magazine, Vogue, AnOther Magazine, just to mention a few. You shot commercials, music videos, and documentaries for them. How do the types of commissions you execute shape your approach to filmmaking? What are the pros & cons of this situation?

Poppy de Villeneuve: I try and approach each project as its own entity. I haven’t had formal film school training, so learn new tools with each project. I’m lucky to be supported by Partizan, a wonderful production company. I’ve also been fortunate that many of these clients have allowed me to run with an idea.

With AnOther magazine I filmed a series of interviews based on the Proust questionnaire – I talked to people I admire about their take on fear, love and expectation.

I’m currently working on a project with RayBan which will be an iPad app. The new areas of media have been a real plus for exploration in film. For the web, it’s a challenge to shape something that will keep people focused while including a short narrative and a chance for them to feel moved. Ultimately, if a commercial can create a personal change, as a book or a film might, it can be seen as art.

maja@tnf: Where is the border between feature films and commercials, in your opinion?
Poppy de Villeneuve: In general, to have complete artistic freedom to tell the story you want feels pretty far from the commercial realm. It seems like certain corporations are taking more risks, understanding that intelligent consumers want to see meaningful real or fictional stories, not stories that take advantage of them. Audience participation is an interesting, new area where boundaries are moving. I am working on a music video where half the images are photographs that fans have taken, so it’s collaboration.

Interview in parts

Full interview

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