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DISCOVER Pier-Philippe Chevigny

Pier-Philippe Chevigny is the director of

REBEL

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into filmmakinng.

 

I always loved movies as a kid. I knew I wanted to make films for as long as I can remember. But background as an activist really shaped the type of films I make. I'm really sensitive about social issues, I'm sometimes obsessed with politics and I try to make films that will spark discussions and raise awareness... but that can also be entertaining at the same time. Those two attitudes sometimes seem contradictory, but I try really hard to make films that provide a powerful emotional experience while keeping relevant with what's going on in the world.

Q: Who or what inspires you in your craft?

I'd say everything can be a source of inspiration... Life and politics is obviously a big source. A lot of filmmakers too, like Abbas Kiarostami, Satyajit Ray, the Dardenne Brothers, László Nemes, Terrence Malick, early Italian neorealism, etc!

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"I try to make films that will spark

discussions and raise awareness...but that can also be entertaining at the same time"

Q: Tell us about your film, what its themes mean to you and what you hope others take away from it.

It's inspired by the recent rise of right-wing extremism in Quebec following the 2017 migrant, where tens of thousands of people "illegally" entered the country to ask for asylum. We've started seeing these weird militia-like group with a very anti-immigration agenda. I've done a lot of research, and the specific idea for REBEL came on the day after a big demonstration in Quebec city. One of the newspapers had for its front page a picture of a young boy holding a flag with La Meute's logo on it. I thought to myself: "that kid has no clue what this is all about, he is just following his parents". I began writing the script for REBEL with the intention of showing the moment where an indoctrinated kid would come to understand what it's all about... That "moment of realization" became the whole concept, and every choice I've made was done with the intention of having the viewer experience that moment at the same time as the boy.

Q: Are there any causes that your film is inspired by?

The idea behind REBEL was first and foremost to raise awareness on the dangers of right wing extremism and how quickly it infiltrated the mainstream in Quebec. The extremists in the film are not depicted as evil neonazi skinheads: on the contrary they seem to be quite decent parents and don't relish in violence, but they do adhere to radical ideas. And that's simply the result of my research: people who participate in those groups are usually parents, everyday normal people, not gangsters and skinheads. Nothing is surprising about seeing skinheads march against immigration, but when everyday normal people go to these events, and take their children along like it's some kind of family out: that's when you know something is seriously wrong.

Q: What's next for you?

I'm working on my first feature RICHELIEU, about the exploitation of Latino workers in the farming industry. We have acquired most of the funding and are aiming to shoot in the summer of 2021. I've also began writing what would eventually become my second feature, a project called ARSENAL, about police brutality towards the LGBTQ+ community.

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