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Q&A with FilmCon Winner Brandon Gotto ("Gravidam")

1. Congratulations on winning Best Picture, Best Narrative Film, Best Drama, and Best Actor in an Indie Film at FilmCon. Before we chat about the film, can you briefly tell us about yourself, what made you interested in filmmaking and how did you become a writer, director, and producer?

1. Thank's you for your recognition. It meant a lot for us. My father was a movie lover. When I was 4 he made me discover the 1989 Batman with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton. I think it traumatized me but in a good way. Strangely, I knew that what I saw was conceived. Then I saw more and more films. Not really kids movies. Some things like "Jaws" and other adults content. At the time I wished to be an actor but after watching the king Kong remake, seeing Jack Black playing a movie director I knew that this is what I wanted to do. So, I stole my father's dv camera and started to make so short films. Every week-end. Every hollydays. I have destroyed my entire school life because of my movies but you know what? I don't regret anything.

2. How did you come up with the idea to write and direct this film, and what were some of the inspirations for it?

2. After the release of my first feature film "The Darkest Sorrows", I was kind of scared and frustrated about the idea of making an other feature. It has a lot of awards in many festivals and I think it has a positive and negative impact on me for a year and a half. But it makes me wanted to do a more "artsy" film. I have discovered a wonderful painting by August Friedrich Schenck (the lamb one) and at this moment I knew. Once again I wanted to talk about grief.

3. The ensemble (Margaux Colarusso as Rose, Annick Cornette as the mother, and Thomas Gomree as Antoine) did a phenomenal job. How did you cast the actors, and what was your creative process with them?

3. Thank you for them. Well actually, before getting into the process of that movie, I wrote a screenplay for an other project right after "The Darkest Sorrows" and rewrite it almost 7 times. But finally it didn't happen so I was kind of frustrated about writing all these dialogues for nothing. And I was thinking "I want to create on the set". I thought I was explaining too much. Or too less. So I wanted this films to have improvised dialogues. They got the detailed description of the story and the scenes but we've all constructed it together talking about what they could say to have a more natural feeling. Almost kind of voyeur way to see this film. So they just got into it naturally by improvising the dialogues. I think that for these types of film it works better.

4. What was the most challenging part of the shoot?

4. The fact that we made the entire film in 4 days. There was a lot of sequences to made in a short amount of time. So I took the decision to do almost every scene a tracking shot without interruption. I'm a big fan of Gaspar Noe's work so I was like "it's now or never to prove it!". Also I wanted a natural light with one source picture. So we took a lot of time before to setup the one correct light source to make it feel realistic.

5. Can you talk about your collaboration with composer Antoine Ligas? How did you two meet, what references were discussed early on and what was the scoring process like?

5.We met a year ago. Margaux Colarusso was singing in a band and he came in as a guitarist. While talking between the recording sessions he told us "Hey guys you know that I have a little post-production studio and I am a sound mixer too so if you need me." and if course we were super interested. I proposed him few synopsis but none of them did make out since the shooting process until "Gravidam". But during all that time we became really good friends and we've understand ourselves each other. We both wanted to do the same movie. He was aware of my style and wills, never interfered but of course without him and his experience in sound recording and assistant director the movie would have been very different. So he was a blessing on this project. And his music was perfect. He was there during the shooting so it helps a lot to compose it.

6. Having directed 5 shorts and two features, what do you wish you knew about directing before you approached the first film?

6. I'm happy and proud about my first feature. I don't deny it at all. But you know... The little mistakes of every first-time filmmaking. More the years passed and I'm discovering new ones. But you know I think part of the experience is to accept your past mistakes and live with it. To have Mr. Ligas on the first one would have been great.

7. What are you going to focus on next?

7. Honestly I don't know it yet. We had a great reception on our live screening premiere in Belgium. People loved the "artistic" flair of it. So I'm even more scared that for "The Darkest Sorrows". I think we've reach an other level. So I will think about it quietly. Patience is a good friend in filmmaking. But for sure I will always love old house in the middle of the countryside and some dark psychological dramas.

8. Is there anything you'd like to add or someone you wish to thank?

8. I want to thank my amazing little crew on this one. We did a film that we are proud of. Also, thank you for this interesting Q&A 🙏

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