Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond Discuss Switzerland’s Oscar Pick “My Little Sister”


Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond’s first function, “The Little Bed room,” premiered on the 2010 Locarno Movie Competition. Their different credit embrace “Open Guide,” a collection broadcast in 2014 on Swiss and French Tv, and “Women,” a 2018 documentary that premiered at Visions du Réel Movie Competition. Chuat and Reymond are additionally achieved actresses and have carried out in quite a few Swiss and French theatrical productions.

“My Little Sister” hits virtual cinemas January 15. Switzerland submitted the movie as its choose for the Worldwide Characteristic Movie class of the 2021 Academy Awards.

W&H: Describe the movie for us in your personal phrases.

SC&VR: “My Little Sister” explores the invisible bond between grownup twins. Sven is a well-known actor, Lisa an excellent playwright who has put her profession on maintain to lift her youngsters. As her brother is recognized with extreme leukemia, she questions her complete life, compromising even her marriage. In opposition to all odds, the siblings handle to [channel] the potential separation into creativity, and Lisa reconnects to her personal writing.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

SC&VR: The film has a number of origins. We first wished to broaden our horizon and work with non-French-speaking actors. There are some German, British, and American actors we dreamed to work with. Amongst them, the German star Nina Hoss, who we considered for the reason that starting of “My Little Sister’s” growth. We then had the large probability to satisfy her casually in a boutique in Berlin. We approached her and requested her if she had time for a espresso with us. We gave her our quantity, pondering that she’d by no means name us again. However she did, and we had a really lengthy espresso along with her some days later.

Throughout this dialog, Nina instructed us she was a part of the Berlin Schaubühne theater firm. As we’re each actresses, we’ve recognized this prestigious theater and its inventive director, Thomas Ostermeier, for a very long time. This was the set off for us to convey her along with Lars Eidinger, the lead actor of the Schaubühne, as twin siblings.

With “Little Sister” we additionally wished to discover a little-known facet of Switzerland, the expats and the world of boarding colleges. Then, once we found our frequent roots in theater with Nina, we had the concept to confront this closed world with the Berlin theater milieu.

On the core of the movie is the dual siblings’ bond. We’ve been an inventive duo for a few years now and, extra importantly, we’ve recognized one another since we have been 10 years outdated. There may be numerous our personal relationship on this story about twins. We share a world collectively that can not exist if one in all us is gone.

W&H: What would you like individuals to consider after they watch the movie?

SC&VR: As “My Little Sister” is an intimate household story, reactions may be barely completely different based on every spectator’s private expertise. However the themes are common: it’s about hope, love, identification, the that means of 1’s life, the necessity for creativity. All people can join with this story one a approach or one other and perhaps determine with the characters. That’s why we hope that “My Little Sister” will attain the center of the viewers.

W&H: What was the most important problem in making the movie?

VR: One of many large challenges was the schedule of the actors. On account of their very busy agendas, we solely had someday of rehearsal with Nina and Lars collectively earlier than the taking pictures. We went by way of all their scenes and dialogue. But when this quick rehearsal time went so effectively, it’s as a result of we had talked at size with them about their characters all through the entire writing course of, which took 4 years.

SC: After which there was the taking pictures itself. We didn’t have many days of taking pictures, however many scenes to shoot on daily basis, together with set modifications throughout the identical day. We did a collection earlier than this venture with a extremely fast and tight schedule, and that have helped us rather a lot for the taking pictures of “My Little Sister.” With nice actors corresponding to Nina, Lars, Marthe Keller, and Jens Albinus, the textual content is already interiorized and you’ll rapidly cope with the fine-tuning of inexpressible, non-verbal strikes. It’s an awesome pleasure for us to have the ability to work with such nice actors.

VR: Truly, each step of constructing the film was actually difficult! The modifying wasn’t a stroll within the park both. We had numerous rushes [dailies], and because the digicam is handheld and really cellular, we by no means had two an identical photographs. So we needed to go fastidiously by way of all of the rushes to search out the precise piece we wanted. We knew all of them by coronary heart on the finish of the modifying.

W&H: How did you get your movie funded? Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.

SC&VR: Though our film has two of the larger German stars, no German cash was discovered to finance it. We managed to have a assist from ARTE, however the remainder of the financing is totally Swiss. What helped rather a lot is a fund that was launched in Switzerland a number of years again: all of the bills made in Switzerland or with Swiss collaborators obtain an extra 40 p.c of the cash. With out this new system that would substitute exterior monetary assist, we’re undecided that we’d have managed to convey “My Little Sister” to life.

W&H: What impressed you to develop into a filmmaker?

SC&VR: We now have recognized one another since our childhood. Each enthusiastic about theater, we’ve labored a few years within the theater scene, working as actresses in Swiss and French manufacturing. We now have created many exhibits as a stage duo as effectively, and our first step in direction of cinema was by together with video in our performs. This led us to put in writing and direct 4 quick movies.

We then moved on to put in writing and direct our first function movie, “The Little Bed room,” starring legendary French actor Michel Bouquet. It premiered on the 2010 Locarno Movie Competition and was chosen to symbolize Switzerland on the Academy Awards. “The Little Bed room” was additionally honored with two Swiss Quartz Prizes (Finest Fiction Movie and Finest Screenplay), and acquired a dozen awards in worldwide festivals.

That film was an actual turning level in our lives. Since then, we’ve been energetic principally in cinema and collection. Appearing stays on the middle of our filmmaking, although, as a result of all of the initiatives we write and direct at all times place the actor on the coronary heart of the story.

W&H: What’s the perfect and worst recommendation you’ve acquired?

SC&VR: The most effective recommendation was to expertise issues relatively than sticking to idea. Once we have been youngsters, we did a clown summer time class in Paris. The final day of the workshop, the instructor instructed us, “Effectively, now, guys, it’s time to go and check your clowns on the streets, in the true world.” We have been the one ones of the category to take it actually: we went to probably the most touristic areas of Paris, le Quartier Latin. Completely scared, it took us two hours to search out the precise place, then we placed on our crimson clown noses on, and began to sing medieval songs. No one stopped to take heed to us till one homeless individual did, creating an enormous mess, and subsequently forcing many individuals to collect by curiosity. However not for our efficiency! Nonetheless, on the finish of the day, we had simply earned sufficient cash to ship a postcard to our clown instructor. We made it!

Worst recommendation: Once we have been writing our very first script — that also hasn’t develop into a film but — we labored with a producer who suggested us to cease doing different issues than growing this film. On the time, we have been actresses and have been performing rather a lot on stage. We listened to him, and emptied our agendas, giving all our time to growing this venture. However shortly after that, the producer dumped us and our script and we discovered ourselves left with nothing forward. Since that occurred we’ve at all times had two or three initiatives happening.

W&H: What recommendation do you may have for different ladies administrators?

SC&VR: As ladies on this business, issues are sometimes tougher for us as a result of we at all times need to do extra convincing than males have to, we’ve to insist rather a lot about the truth that our initiatives are price being made. It’s generally exhausting. However we at all times comply with our guts first and belief our instincts, and we lastly discover methods to make our films. In order that’s what we might advise to different ladies: Stick with your concepts and beliefs.

W&H: Title your favourite woman-directed movie and why.

SC&VR: We’re very fond and filled with admiration for Jane Campion and the way she makes such fantastic movies and collection whereas staying trustworthy to who she is. She doesn’t play any video games of seduction — she simply does what she has to do.

We additionally love the French director Maïwenn for her expertise and braveness in her selections of subjects. “Polisse” is each a good looking and highly effective film.

W&H: How are you adjusting to life through the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you retaining inventive, and if that’s the case, how?

SC&VR: We’re at the moment writing “Poisonous,” a collection developed along with Swiss TV. It’s an ecological drama mixed with a household story exploring the implications of a mysterious contamination of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

“Poisonous” questions everybody about their relationship with the atmosphere and extra particularly with water, an important aspect for mankind. Once we began growing it, we noticed it as a form of anticipation collection, however with the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears to be fairly a well timed matter!

W&H: The movie business has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting individuals of shade onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — detrimental stereotypes. What actions do you assume have to be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?

SC&VR: As European filmmakers, we will solely speak about Switzerland, our nation. Quotas have been launched a number of years in the past, and we see the consequences of those quotas within the growing numbers of initiatives carried on by ladies that get financed. There may be an obligation to respect this parity, which is nice. Nonetheless, we sit up for the day when initiatives will probably be picked up for his or her intrinsic qualities, and never for the gender of their creators.


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