June 2014. Munich Festival

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I met up again with Kyle Catlett. A beautiful 3D projection, despite the “RealD” system. I sat next to the mayor of Munich who texted during the entire projection. I wonder what would happen if I did the same during one of his speeches… Wim Wenders was as lovely as ever, and congratulated me. I was pleased because he filmed in Montreal after me and used my favorite technicians, whom I had recommended. Along the way a quick visit to the sublime “Allianz Arena”. TS will make an honorable showing in Germany, like all of my films.

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February 2014. The César


I can’t really complain about professional recognition of my work. All of my french movies, without exception, have had at least 3 nominations. In total I have had 49 nominations, and have won 17, including 6 personally. TS Spivet won the Cesar for photography, which recognizes not only Thomas Hardmeier, but also the entire team for their cinematography and 3D work.

When Harvey Weinstein…

… signed TS Spivet for the United States, he had seen the finished film. And Gaumont had made it clear that since I had the final cut, I would not change even the smallest detail. A fact that didn’t stop him from trying to bully his way into redoing the film in his own way. As he always does with films.

He had already tried to do so in 1991 with Delicatessen. An English editor came to me with a list of all suggested cuts. He was going to remove the scene with the creaking bed, Ms. Interligator’s suicide… in short, all the funniest scenes. Caro and I patiently listened and then suggested one more cut: “removing our names from the credits”. The editor left shaking his finger at us, “You haven’t heard the last from Harvey Weinstein!” After that I expected to find my dog’s head on my bed one morning … Finally, having not yet signed with UGC, the film was released without the cuts, in spite of Mr Weinstein…and would eventually become a cult film. 10 years later the same thing happened with Amelie. We had five Oscar nominations. But we were out of luck. That was the year that the Academy, tired of Weinstein’s vote-collecting “abuse”, decided to boycott his films. “We will not vote for Amélie”, wrote the American industry magazines. Whoopy Goldberg, president of the ceremony, spent the entire ceremony making fun of Weinstein. The result being, out of 19 nominations, he won only one Oscar.

Weinstein is like a gallery owner that says to a painter: “Americans don’t like green, so I’ll ask the framer to use blue” … Weinstein is actually all about power. Like a dog marking a tree, he MUST change all the movies he buys.

In addition, he forced a “holdback” on Gaumont, which meant that no non-Francophone country could release the film before him. So Spivet remained blocked for 8 months. As the holdback ended in June, in some countries, like England or Spain, it was released in the middle of the World Cup. Flop.

News about TS

The Young and Prodigious Spivet is now being edited. Filmed in 3D, it will be in cinemas on the 23 of October! 

The filming took place in Quebec and Alberta. Rather than wax on about it, here are some images that will pay homage to my precious artistic collaborators and give you something to whet the appetite…


To live happy, live hidden!



A film is often a war, a battle. This photo shows it well.



Here you can see the two “Alexa M” cameras that we were the first to use to film in 3D. In the background, Julien Lecat, longtime author of this site, and for TS, author of the “making of” and of provisional work that takes place on site, a really valuable member of the team…



Christophe Vassort had already been my first assistant for “Amelie”.
He should charge for his good mood and humor (not always understood by the Canadians…). He speaks a special language, what I call ‘Vasoravian’, and speaks English with the worst accent on the planet, with phrases such as “Don’t take me for a noodle”!



Jean Umanski, my trusty sound engineer, fitting TS, otherwise known as Kyle Catlett. My Kylitto is a child prodigy. We haven’t seen the last of him!



Jean-Marc Deschamps, production supervisor for all of my films since Amelie has always boosted morale in the most difficult and complicated moments.



Aline Bonetto, my set designer, who has been with me for all of my films except Alien. A powerhouse of work and talent.



Reif Larsen, author of the book, visiting the set, and signing his book for Helena Bonham Carter.



To the left, in the foreground is Madeline Fontaine, my head costume designer since Amelie (she also worked with Jean Paul Gaultier for The City of Lost Children) and to the right, Anne Wermelinger, my script who has also been with me since The City.



Kyle Katlett, who is, incidentally, also the world champion of children’s martial arts…



… so he did most of the stunts…



Demetri Portelli is our stereographer. He also worked on Hugo Cabret, which had been, in my opinion, the best film shot in 3D…until TS Spivet…… (Ah ah…)



Callum Keith Rennie plays TS’s father, and has got a truly western “look”. He was in Battle Star Galactica, among other films.



Dany Racine started the film as first camera assistant and finished as cameraman. I can never thank him enough for his passion and his help. Seen here with his own invented view finder made with a Canon D5.



Helena Bonham Carter is already known to be an astonishing actress, but I have never found it so easy to get along with an actress. To the left, Nathalie Tissier, my head of make up, who’s also been with me for forever…



A natural pose… To my right, my head cameraman Thomas Hardmeier, whose work I have admired for a long time.



Sophie Chiabaut is Jean Umanski’s “perchwoman”. Another loyal member of the club. No, to the right, that isn’t a character in the film, just a docile stand in for TS…



The storyboard drawn by Maxime Rebière.



The ranch, built for the film in Alberta.



Judy Davis. I told her “make me laugh”. She did.



Dominique Pinon. Because a film of mine without Pinon, wouldn’t be a film of mine.

Photographs: © Yann Thijs