What’s a festival without awards? To reward the stellar work of the selected artists, Third Culture invited six judges to give their say on the programme. Among those judges also French producer, actress and director Emilie Guillot.

When did you hear of this festival?

I know founder Harry Oram from working on a couple projects together. We worked together on the latest feature film I produced. When he asked me to judge, I was interested in representing the voice of the French community at this festival.

Could you tell us more about that latest feature with Harry Oram?

We shot it in 2015, now we’re finalising post-production so hopefully in 2 weeks we’ll be ready to release. The film is called L’Arrivée d’un Typhon (A Typhoon is Coming). It’s set in Hong Kong and shows French expats trapped in an apartment because of a heavy typhoon. We play on the metaphor of the typhoon as a turbulence in their relationships. Harry helped me on the production side. We work well together. He’s good with the technical issues, unlike me, so we’re quite complementary.

Judge Emilie Guillot

Any Third Culture in you?

Well, my mother is Spanish, my grandfather is Corsican. Yes I’m French from my father’s side, but having lived in Hong Kong for the past 14 years, I feel like I share the same values and issues associated with Third Culture. Third Culture by heart, you could say.

Third Culture by heart, you could say.

What does that mean for you?

Well, my first understanding is it’s about the feeling of home, the doubt that comes with that. If people ask me where I’m from, I feel like it’s not enough to say I’m French. My life is here in Hong Kong. Although I do hope to return to France someday. It’s an amazing country. We may have lost our ways a bit in the past few years, but I believe in our culture and our principles.

As a judge, can you tell us anything about the selection? What’s your pick?

Every film had something else to offer

That’s a tough question, I’m impressed by the overall level of the films selected by Faiyaz. This being the first edition, I was surprised to see some pretty amazing works. The quality is really really good. This of course made the job harder for us judges. Luckily we get along very well, I feel like everyone was fair in their choices and we always came to a fine conclusion. Before starting this weekend, I thought I would have a difficult time judging foreign language films. I was afraid some of the film’s meaning would get lost in translation. But having seen the selection, I’m glad to say the language was not a problem. Every film had something else to offer, from amazing camera work to great acting. I absolutely love the segment Food, Family, Kids, Parents (Sun 4pm-6pm), there were some really funny and really good films there. I was also impressed by the The Darkness segment last night. I was hesitant to invite people to that screening, because there was some heavy stuff in there. But it all worked on the big screen and we saw some splendid movies.

What is it about French movies that makes them so… French?

we French are not afraid to give 200%

Haha, well if you look at Extreme Pinocchio which screened last night, I think it’s fair to say we French are not afraid to give 200%. We didn’t see the sweetness and quirkiness we know from Amélie Poulain this time, but it has this similar vibe of crazy characters and raw art. The design of the set, the casting choices, there’s a circus feel to it, very street art-like.

Still from Extreme Pinocchio
Extreme Pinocchio, part of the official selection at TCFF 2016

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