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[Interview] – James Bort – ‘Rise Of A Star’ – A Short Film


Posted December 21, 2017 by

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Director James Bort, scriptwriter Stéphane Landowski and Producer Boris Mendza’s beautiful film tackles the difficult subject of female empowerment. This wonderful tale features the iconic Oscar nominated actress Catherine Deneuve, introduces Dorothée Gilbert (Pirma Ballerina at Paris Opera Ballet), Antonia Desplat (Victoria), Pierre Deladonchamps (Stranger by the Lake). Rise of A Star has been voted by the Academy, to join the Oscar race and has been selected for the Live Action Short Film shortlist, beating more than one hundred and fifty films.

Emma is about to be a new Ballerina, but something upsets her.  A secret. A secret liable to undermine what she has spent her whole life on.

The legendary actress Catherine Deneuve stars as Mlle Jean and Rise of a  Star is the first short that Ms Deneuve has shot in 25 years. This is the screen debut for the award winning Prima Ballerina Dorothée Gilbert, who stars as the gifted Ballerina Emma. The film also stars Antonia Desplat as Victoire, who is known for her work in Victoria. The choreographer Youri is played by Pierre Deladonchamps, this talented actor won the Most Promising Actor award at the 39th César Awards.

Through their production company Fulldawa Films the Producer’s of Rise of A Star Boris Mendza, Gael Cabouat & David Atrakchi have an impressive slate of over 85 films, including My Old Lady with Kevin Kline & Maggie Smith, Frank & Lola starring Michael Shannon and the Talent Cannes Adami, a film collection in partnership with the Cannes Film Festival for over 25 years. Alongside the trio, Los Angeles based producer Jouri Smit joined Fulldawa Films. Mahdi Lepart created the stunning cinematography.


To begin with, tell us about your latest film, ‘Rise Of A Star’…

This is the story of Emma, a ballet dancer who dreams of becoming Prima Ballerina. Most of all, it’s the story of a modern heroin. As the world begins to realize of the amount of progress yet to be made to achieve gender equality, Emma becomes the symbol of this daily struggle. She is done submitting to an archaic system that would have her choose between maternity and her career.

‘Rise Of A Star’ is starring the great Catherine Deneuve, what was it like working with her?

Before all, it was an honor for me. I know she doesn’t like when I say that about her, but she is an iconic women and a symbol of liberty and feminism. She’s one of the most inspiring women in the world.

It’s my first movie and I have learned so much with her. We are both perfectionists, and she is so talented and professional that she can bring your ideas beyond all your wishes.

Who else is starring in the film?

Before all, this film is a love letter to my wife, Dorothée Gilbert, Principal at Paris Opéra Ballet, who plays the main character. It’s her first movie and she is more than amazing. It’s the rise of an actress.

The casting of the movie is a dream for me because it is also starring Antonia Desplat. She is so talented, charismatic and hard working, I’m sure she is a future movie star. Pierre Deladonchamps is one of the best actor in France and I learned a lot with him about act direction.

I don’t want to forget the ten amazing dancers of Paris Opéra who are in the movie…

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

All my life, I studied arts. Music, painting, choreography, comics, photography, theatre, architecture, all this arts are in my head when I make a film. I always follow my intuitions, and they come from arts.

I didn’t studied in cinema school, so I had to creat my own tools to speak with the team of the movie. I drew, I wrote, I bring the DOP at the museum to show him what light I want. I bring the sound designer at the opéra to hear the Boléro of Ravel and all the team to see a ballet. I also work with fashion industry and I love it, so I went to shopping with the stylist. In fact, I love to share my passions and my influences with all the crew.

For this film, if I could do a List à la Prévert, I would write : Jane Campion, John Coltrane, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard, Edgard Degas, Yves Saint Laurent, Hayao Miyazaki, Maurice Béjart, Stanley Kubrick, Catherine Deneuve and many others.

What advice would you give any up-and-coming filmmakers, trying to crack the industry?

This is my very first movie and I can’t give any advice to anybody. But If I had two : Trust and follow your intuition and fight for them. And work with a good team which trusts in you, because alone, you go nowhere. 

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films or projects in production?

Next step is a feature film, I’m writing it, it’s still about a woman and I hope to shoot it next in 2019…


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Interviewed By:

Adam Snowden
Company Founder & Managing Director

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