-Who is Antoine Priou?
I am a full time dreamer. I spend practically all my time in my mind imaginating things, creating worlds, stories and inventing. After studying 5 years in Paris in a filmschool studying to become an assistant director and an editor/special effect artist. I worked in a first company in Paris as an assistant director on a french tv show called “Lazy company” and worked on corporate editing projects for different kind of companies. After one year and a half, I became an assistant editor as well as an editor for a sci fi French tv show called Metal Hurlant Chronicles sold in a lot of countries in the world. It was an adaptation of the French comic book “Métal hurlant” which help to launch a lot of talented reknown such as Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowski. For the anecdote it was adapted into a magazine and an animated film in the US in the eighties. I did learn a lot during this experience as I managed a lot of different role and had to supervise a team as well.
After this massive experience I travelled to Canada for a year as I wanted to discover and get inspired by new stuff. I spent eight months in Montréal working for a production company that created mostly commercial spot videos. It gave me the opportunity to confront myself to a bilingual and multicultural environment. I moved for a short time to Toronto where I had the chance to meet so many people that wanted to help me grow and especially in this industry. I felt really lucky to see all those arms opened just wanting to give me a hand. This short travel made me move to Vancouver where I did work as an editor on an animation movie. When I met the producer the project was in part realized but had no real direction. He gave me the free opportunity to cut the movie the way I felt it and finally he was glad to see the result. That was a huge achievement for me and really I’m honored to have received it.
As a dreamer and really curious guy, alongside all these experiences I put myself into writing and learning animation especially 3d animation. I think I am the kind of guy that’s driven by challenges that’s why it took me nearly four years to learn 3d just by myself. And believe me the challenge presented itself as I did my first short film entirely by myself with the help of a great friend for the sound design and the music. I tried to present it to some festivals and the projects finally received eight selections, which was kind of crazy. I didn’t expect this kind of attention.
Beside this project I published my first book which was a poetry book called “Méli mélo poétique”. The following years I really put myself into writing trying to develop as many stories and concept as I could.
A second book was born called “Fantastic stories from here and there” (Mora-Mora editorial) published in Spain in three languages: french, spanish, english for each stories inside of the same book. It took me about three years to release it with the editors.
Since then I wanted to push the boundaries more and more and be a little more ambitious. I travelled to Mexico for few weeks where I discovered a nest of wonderful artists which gave me tons of inspirations and the crazy idea of creating my own production company. That’s where the project “Luke and Oscar” appears. It took me three months to write and storyboard it. Then the project took another three months to be realized entirely. The objective was to see that if it could be appreciated by the public and the festivals. Rich of the success that it received (at the time it has passed the 39 selections in different countries and received 46 awards like Best short film, best cartoon, best director), I am starting to develop my own structure which is called Atom Studios which is located in Paris France and soon I hope in Mexico as well. Another exciting projects are coming through in the next few months which start with a short documentary called “The Chestnut House” that already earned a great welcome and permited me to receive 3 awards. A huge documentary project is building itself and will be realized in Mexico.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Since I am a child, I have always watched all kind of movies and shows. The first shock I had being a child was to watch the Batman Animated Series who impressed me by his maturity even if it was more a child/family program. The narration of each episode was so efficient and well written. I spent my time analizing the structure of how it was built. I was always amazed to watch an episode and still now sometimes it happens that I watch one sometimes and it still dazzles me.
Maybe that were the first “symptoms” of me being attracted by animation and by this industry. Of course like any other kids I had watch most of the Walt Disney movies but the impact wasn’t as strong as it was for this series.
But the biggest cinematographic shock I received was when at the age of ten I saw Luc Besson’s “The Professional” that’s when I knew I really wanted to get into this industry. Making art would be a way to give back and transmit the feeling I had felt with these “shocks” through my movies and my stories so that people can dream, be amazed and be dragged into another dimension which could give them another sense or perspective about life.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?
I think cinema can help bring a change into society because there are tons of subjects you can speak about and some which are kind of “taboo” and I think in that way it’s a great way of putting our society and the people in front of the problem we are going through.
Moreover the cinema is a great way of communicating emotions and maybe bring more humanity into the world we live now. With all the technologies and the way the society consume humans, I think it can help forge another perspective and maybe create a wave of change and rebellion against those models. Some films like for example “Easy Rider” reinvented something and helped see life in a different way, just living and experiencing life in all these aspects and his simple and best ways.
That kind of films have a big impact on the public and help shape new models and change mentality. I think seeing a movie is like learning a lesson that your family, your environment and even school will teach you during your life. And in that way I really think cinema can make a big difference to realize that change.
-What would you change in the world?
Probably the shaped society we lived in that controls everything and everyone. People have lost the way of what is it to accomplish a dream and I am not sure what the word “dream” means no more for a majority of people in the world. The other is building things that matter not just for the society but for everyone we cruelly missed that. You ask someone what he wants it will probably tell you being famous, have a lot of money and be an icon or what so ever. But in a lot of cases you don’t hear the word passion, love, excitement, humanity. So this is time we recover a bit of our humanity.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
The film industry will keep reinventing itself by all means. But the way I see it with all the superheroes movies that are invading the cinemas these days and in the future. I think people will be tired and the industry will be gain by some sort of nostalgia. I’m not saying it will go backward but it will be nourish by old and traditional way of making movies. You can see now some big filmmakers like Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan complaining about the model used by Hollywood and the merchandising that’s gaining the film industry which in my opinion is quite sad. Cinema is an object of debate and entertainment so why not continuing combine them.
Another new model could be use with technologies is using avatar models of ancient actors to play in movies, like they did on one Star Wars movies. So that would the appearance or even the resurrection of old famous actors digitalized. The subject is quite used and well explained in the movie Ari Folman’s“The Congress” which tells the story of an actress that let the studios use her digital image to make a movie. Maybe that will be a way of making movies in the future. I don’t know if it will succeed but it’s a possibility.