Belgian director Nicolas Graux wins award for ‘Passée L’aube’
After Dawn (Passée L'aube), a short film by Brussels director Nicolas Graux about the non-acceptance of LGBT people in Poland, won an award at the International Film Festival in Namur. Actor Tijmen Govaerts from Mechelen won the award for Best Acting. He received the prize with his Polish fellow actor Piotr Biedron by his side.
We had a chat with the director. Listen to and read the interview below.
Why did you want to make this movie?
This movie is based on a personal story, actually. The story could take place anywhere in the world, but the film is set in Poland. That's because of the love story I experienced there myself. That story left me marked with very strong emotions, some of which I wasn’t even aware myself.
Can you tell me what the movie is about?
The movie tells the story of Pawel, a young, Polish guy in his twenties who lives in a flat with two girls. Pawel receives an unexpected visit of someone that he'd rather not have in his house.
We find Pawel in a strong tension of anxiety because of this visitor. What I really wanted to show, was the strong grip of shame that confines my character’s life, turning it into an anxious environment. That leaves the character being unable to respond to feelings such as love, tenderness, affection and desire even when they are right in front of him in the person of his visitor.
The entire film is based on the actors’ performance. It couldn’t have been made without them.
The movie won an award. How did that make you feel?
Yes, the movie received the award for best acting at the Festival du Film Francophone in Namur which I’m very proud of and I’m happy for both my actors because it was a double award: both of them won the prize for best acting.
For me, that was really great news, the entire film is based on the actors’ performance. It couldn’t have been made without them. We needed this kind of chemistry between them for the audience to believe in their relationship and I think we've achieved that. I’m very grateful that the jury at the festival recognized this quality.
This was a short film, do you have other projects planned?
I've been working on a long feature documentary movie for five years now. It’s a very long piece of work for me.
Is it difficult for a director in Belgium to work and to make a movie?
It’s a long process because you usually start alone. You start writing, trying to translate your ideas into something that is filmic, something that is readable by others as well. Sometimes you start from complete chaos.
It’s like a long test. You can't give up and really have to keep on believing in what you’re doing, even if your project gets rejected by the film commission. You need to really keep faith in it.
And then, if the project that you’ve been working on so hard actually gets financed. That's really rewarding.
The short film will be screened in cinema galeries in Brussels in December. Keep an eye out for the specific dates! Monday, the 11th of December, the movie will be screened in Mechelen.