Philippe Petit interview
Philippe Petit is a French actor and director, (Crime, 2010, Insouciants, 2004 and Delicacy, 2011). Produced by Emma Lepers, documentary Danger Dave is a fruit of his five years long work, to be released in 2014. Regarding his Croatian premiere on the Vladimir Film Festival 2015, we made a small interview with the director.
Interview by Marko Zubak
Q: What is you connection with skateboarding? Were you linked to it before you started working on Danger Dave documentary?
A: I did a bit of it when i was around 10 but the culture came to me when i was around 18. In fact I have always had some friends skateboarding. I found myself attracted with the way skateboarders were leaving the street and the society more than the fact of riding a board and i started filming them on S8 20 years ago.
Q: Did skateboarding influenced your way of filming in any way?
A: No. I filmed with my point of view, far from the one used on skate videos. For ex, I never used a wild angle because i find that very ugly and too esthetic. For me the most important is the distance i must have with my character, no matter it’s a skateboarder or a cooker…
Q: Your film is being screened on various festivals. Is there any difference in it’s acceptation between skate public and non-skate public?
A: More or less. Skaters are attached to some points that the general audience would not see, some technical aspects, they are less surprised by the situations. But generally the main talk goes in the same direction, they are both touched by the same themes such as how do we handle getting old leaving an alternative life?
Q: What trace did this five-year project left on you?
A: I met so many different persons in different jobs around the skate and i have been welcomed almost every time, everywhere. Dave was a difficult but good passport. The film left me a feeling of what can represent freedom nowadays, i enjoyed every aspects of it, i was exactly in the kind of situations i want to create on my films. It was long but strong.
Q: Do you see yourself working on something similar again or are you going to take totally different directions?
A: Working making films just like other subjects is a long and hard road, i try to build my language from on film to another. There will be a continuity for sure, i will still talk about some people of my generation, close to me but it will be far from skateboarding.
Q: What is your next project?
A: I am writing it the moment and don’t have the keys to talk about it clearly. The thing i can say is that the main character (that i will perform myself) is a french gardener living in Roma. He’s struggling for his passion creating some gardens. It’s a story of someone that don’t wanna abandon his dreams but that is more aware than Dave.
Q: Have you got any dream project you would like to work on?
A: I try to keep in mind some projects i will be able to direct. I keep my feet on the ground even if i let my mind go away quite often. My dream is to become more and more precise with the subject i am filming, to stay honest no matter what happens, success or failure. My dream is to feel that i get cleaver getting older. My dream has to come true.
Q: Have you ever been to Croatia? Vladimir film festival is a small festival dedicated to skate videos and we’re very happy to have you in person for the screening of your documentary. What are your expectations?
A: I have never been there, I intend to eat local, drink local, swim local… I look forward to getting closer than we are in France to the Greek friends and understand the scars your country still carry (or not) from the war.
Danger Dave premiered on September 19th at the Valli cinema in Pula.