Vladimir Film Festival

Phil­ippe Petit interview

11 / 9 / 2016 / Interview

Phil­ippe Petit and Dav­id Martelleur

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.