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One-on-one with Filmmaker Leïla Bakhchi - “It is the very heart of our work, [to] open frontiers.”

Leïla Bakhchi is a French actress and filmmaker.

iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.

Bakhchi : “'Who I am' is my first film. I wanted to talk about the difficult relationship between two very different generations, struggling to understand and communicate with each other. The dreams some are facing, the hopes and expectations of others...”

filmmaker film festival Leïla Bakhchi
Celle que je suis (2020)

iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?

Bakhchi : “From writing to post-production every step was a challenge for me. This was my first movie and I had to learn everything while doing it. It was difficult, but in the end it was extremely rewarding.”

iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?

Bakhchi : “I'm proud that I made this film as a self-taught filmmaker without a budget.”

iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?

Bakhchi : “I am an actress, the need to create is vital for me. I felt the need to find other ways of expressing myself, besides acting, but it took me a long time to allow myself to be on the other side of the camera. Today I see directing as an extension of my work as an actress. I feel free to be able to express myself and let my creativity run free.”

iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?

Bakhchi : “I am currently working on my first documentary film, which revolves around some women testimonies. At the same time, I am continuing to write my next short fiction film.”

iFilmFestival: What role do film festivals play?

Bakhchi : “A major role. Festivals allow you to discover films from all over the world, they promote discussion and creation. Above all, they also allow you to meet other filmmakers and get feedback on your work. It is also very moving to see your film traveling, meeting an audience from another country, from another culture. Because it is the very heart of our work; to share and broaden our horizons, open frontiers ...”

iFilmFestival: What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?

Bakhchi : “I think it's important to be well informed about the festivals where you want to present your film. Choose those whose dynamics and programs match your universe.”

iFilmFestival: How do you see the future of film?

Bakhchi : “The current situation we are experiencing, with Covid-19, is shaking things up a bit, and the future seems uncertain. It is very sad and even violent to see cinemas and all cultural venues closed. But I'm still very optimistic about the future of cinema. Even though the current situation may have an impact on film production budgets, there will always be independent filmmakers to keep creation alive. And then, we have the chance to live in a time when it is, despite everything, possible to make films with a small budget.

I think this year, more than any other, has proven how essential Art is for everyone. And sometimes even fundamental. Under lockdown, many people only had books and movies to escape from reality... Cinema has cathartic virtues. The public is eager to dream, to escape, to rise up… and cinema allows all of that.”

Leïla Bakhchi filmmaker film festival
Leïla Bakhchi

iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?

Bakhchi : “Wes Anderson, for his very special, lunar and poetic universe.”

iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?

Bakhchi : “'Spoor' by Agnieszka Holland. I am fascinated by the precision and accuracy of Agnieszka Holland’s work. And I found the work on the light and the rhythm of this film amazing. All carried by a very good cast (and very good acting direction).”

iFilmFestival: Thank you Leïla for answering our questions!


Interview by iFilmFestival on 06/04/2021


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