Marie Amiguet: “I did not suffer for nothing”

“Are you still living under the cloud of this crazy Snow Panther project?”
Actually, he’s really behind, and so much the better because I need him. It was a wonderful adventure, but it was also long and painful.

Why?
It’s very difficult to make a movie. There, in addition, it is a first for the cinema, in addition to this scale. I put too much pressure on myself and it hurts for me. Editing was also a difficult part, the film was not scripted. I’ve been in front of the computer for months, having a meltdown… (she laughs). I’m not an editor and, from the moment we had one, it went smoothly, the knots were untied.

Did you expect such enthusiasm and such unity around Panther?
We were very surprised. I thought it might appeal, especially to people in the animal and nature world. But I never expected musicians like Warren Ellis and Nick Cave to buy into our film. They planted another project to work with us. There, I understood that we had done something. And then, there was this public outpouring, it was reassuring and gratifying. I used to tell myself that I did not suffer for nothing (smile). I got messages today from people telling me they saw it ten times. In the batch, there are also children, whereas it is a rather long and meditative film. Most of all, I am happy that he is doing good for people.

Is the goal twofold: both to track the panther but also to be wary of the smallest gestures and words of the Munier – Tesson duo?
Absolutely. My job was mostly to keep an eye on the men on guard. I had never scouted, I discovered everything together with Sylvain (Tesson) and Vincent (Munier). You have to be close to them all the time so as not to miss things. The scene where the panther comes out, I waited for Vincent to say “It’s ok Marie, you have filmed enough, you can watch the panther”. I discovered it in their moving eyes and it was in my opinion even better.

Will this animal appearance go down as the best moment of the film or will there be something else?
This is the best moment because it is the culmination of Sylvain’s search and dream. But there are many good opportunities, such as being with children in Tibet. They were very curious and came to us to play. Sylvain really showed himself as a person in this part of the trip and that’s what I liked. So I started making films a little differently. He is not just a person who listens and asks questions and writes, he is also a person, who plays with children, makes jokes and is very funny. There are also all the animal encounters, especially for the first time.

“I’m in the same boat as I was five years ago”

What has this movie changed for you?
For a film, it’s always the same thing: you have to find a distributor and a producer, it’s very complicated every time. A film like Panther is atypical and we fought to keep it that way. That’s also what hurts, you always have to fight to assert a point of view.

Didn’t such success open all doors for you?
I didn’t see much… Except that I received a wave of proposals to work in TV series, in particular because the people in question wanted their case passed. Of course, having a girl who just won a César helps. Other than that, honestly, no. As proof, right now I’m trying to combine a rather crazy film project with intuitive animal communication. Arte, who supported the Panther and told me I could return to them whenever I wanted, refused to follow us, finding the angle too esoteric. So, for the moment, I don’t really see the effects… I’m in the same boat as five years ago.

What are your projects?
I am currently working with Jean-Michel Bertrand (director of “The Valley of the Wolves” and “Walk with the Wolves”). We’re shooting the 3rd opus, I’m on camera, we’re getting along, I’m so happy. For the rest, I really want to go to writing, I need to leave the screens.

How does it feel to be president of the La Rochelle International Adventure Film Festival?
I’m glad, I love this organizing team. This adventure festival is one of the few that I want to go to. I’ve been around a bit, I get bored quickly. I like the reality of experimenting with that but it’s a responsibility. I hope it’s just me. Actually, I don’t like to judge movies, so my idea is to highlight the qualities and messages rather than the technical aspects. I think that when there is a story, no matter the budget, it works. »

The festival poster, 2022 edition. (DR)

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