Hearth director Sophie B. Jacques “it’s been easier for men to get financing for their movie”

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you rented your house out for the weekend to complete strangers? Have you ever wanted to place cameras around the house or would you rather not know? Writer/Director Sophie B JacquesHearth shares the story of a couple who seem to rent a house for a romantic weekend. We got the chance to talk to this very talented director about this wonderful short film.

This live-action short just won the Audience Award at the Regard International Film Festival, was selected for Vancouver International Women in Film Festival and was awarded the Audience award at Saguenay International Short Film Festival. 

Emilie comes back home after renting her house to complete strangers online. Too bad she will never know what really happened during her absence. 

Suspense, discomfort and dark humor are core themes of Sophie B Jacques’ work. In her documentary Sunday We’ll See Jacques flies to Belgium to film a 77-year-old man who lives in a toy museum. Chaloupe, is a tale of long-buried secrets unveiled around a campfire that was nominated for best short film at the Jutra Award Ceremony in 2015, which is rewarding best films in Quebec. In the award-winning film Privé, she learns how to lie in 72 hours, and in her most recent film Foyer, B Jacques explores what time can hide in the same space.

For someone who hasn’t heard of Hearth, please tell us about the film.

This is the story of Emilie who comes back home after renting her apartment to strangers online. As she inspects the rooms, we see what really happened during her absence.

Congratulations on a fantastic film, what gave you the idea to write the story?

I often rented my apartment on Airbnb and, one day, I accepted a couple and the more I was looking at their picture, the more I was starting to regret it. So, to reassure me, I told to myself: what’s the worst that can happen? Well…

I often rented my apartment on Airbnb and, one day, I accepted a couple and the more I was looking at their picture, the more I was starting to regret it.

Your cast are fantastic, do you have a particular way of working as a director?

Since there is almost no dialogue in the film, I wanted to prioritize meetings more than rehearsals to keep the acting natural. We first did a camera test with the actors to test their chemistry. Then, we met several times to talk about the story, the characters, and their back story. It allowed us to create a more comfortable on set.

What were some challenges you faced directing the film?

The lack of time. We only had two days to film everything. There were many complex shots to choreograph, with different camera angles or with the choreographed movements with the actor and the change of scenery. For example, in the scene of the bedroom, we change temporality with one fluid camera motion, more specifically when we see the reflection in the mirror at the end of the shot. The actors had to rush to the bed and make it look like they were quietly installed there from the beginning. Curtains also had to be closed now, all during the same short camera movement. We had no choice but to remake the scene until all the elements worked. I had to be very prepared and leave nothing to chance for that particular short.

Have you had any bad experience renting a property?

No, and that’s what surprises me. I used to come back home looking for traces left by my tenants and find none and that’s exactly what scared me. If something happened in my home, during my absence, I would probably never know.

If something happened in my home, during my absence, I would probably never know.  

What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after watching this film?

What already happened in the places they live in or next to. The secrets that these enclose.

Why do you think there are so few women in filmmaking?

I think that for a long time, it’s been easier for men to get financing for their movie. However, more and more women now stand out and share a completely different point of view with their own particular sensitivity and that will make our cinema even more flourishing.

What advice would you give to young directors just starting out?

Address topics that you can feel in your guts. Work hard, never give up, listen to yourself and trust your intuition.

What’s going to surprise people about this film?

If I tell you, it will not be a surprise anymore … haha.

What is next for you?

I’m working on a new short film based on my high school experience where I only studied with girls. By choosing this school, I thought that there would never be a fight since most girls were sweet and kind … well not exactly! I am also writing a feature film that I would describe as a horror tale inspired by childhood cinematographic references.

How can our readers keep in touch with your work?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiebjacques

My website: www.moisdemai.com

Foyer facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/foyerlefilm/

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