For our next Director 101 Interview we learn more about the latest recruit on The Gate's roster, Olivier Richomme. We explore how he uses his cosmopolitan, streetwise heritage to create stunningly emotional film and TV work.
What do you enjoy most about shooting for brands?
Most of all I’m interested in people and storytelling. Most of my personal work is documentary based. I like to find out about people’s stories and being able to tell them through film. Very small things can tell a huge amount and I like finding out those details.
Which project has been your most informative to date?
I’ve recently directed a series of documentaries about the people of Manchester. The size and scope of the project was a great learning curve and the diversity of people, locations and stories we found was really enriching.
Do you enjoy collaborating with other directors?
Film is about collaborating. No one can make a film on their own and sharing ideas and skills is always beneficial on any project.
How do you push a script to exceed client expectations?
I think you have to make it your own. The initial idea or concept comes from the client but after that it’s up to you as film maker to bring it to life. And for that you have to bring a bit (or a lot) of yourself in it. If you manage to bring a concept close to your heart then it becomes more personal and inevitably makes you achieve beyond what’s expected.
Which clients have been a dream to work with?
I think the ones that have given me the freedom to bring my own style and approach to a project. My last film was very much like that. We had a rough initial idea but I was given free reign to bring it to life.
Have you had to work in any challenging locations? How did you handle it?
I think the most challenging locations are the uninspiring ones. Sometimes you walk into a location and it’s hard to imagine how to make it look good and bring it to life. But experience helps and you can always use a few tricks to hide the bad bits and showcase the good ones.
What can film do that other other media forms can’t?
It’s the ability to tell a compelling, emotional or hilarious story in less than a minute. The power to bring a tear to your eye, crying or laughing, in just a few shots.
Who is the most important and or influential person for you in the world of film right now?
There’s too many to mention but people like Jake Nava and a lot of the work coming out of Iconoclast is incredible at the moment. In cinema big influences are people like Werner Herzog, Paolo Sorrentino, Errol Morris, Wong Kar Wai, Yorgos Lathimos, Lynn Ramsey… Yeah too many!
Do you think filmmakers have a responsibility to make challenging, socially conscious work?
Absolutely. I think that’s what film making is for. Any good piece of film almost has to throw some kind of challenge, ask some kind of question. And you see a lot of brands using the power of film to align themselves with politically challenging ideas, think Nike and Apple before them.
When inspiration is waning, when creativity is sapped, how do you stay inspired?
I go for a walk. I’ve been doing that for a long time. If I run out of ideas, I go out on my own with a camera and I start to look and inevitably ideas start coming back.
How do you know when your story is finished and it’s time to walk away?
That’s definitely the hardest part!
What non-film medium inspires your work?
Photography, music, architecture
Is the evolution of your style a conscious or subconscious process?
I think very conscious. Some times you have to go with what the client wants but when you get the opportunity to work your way you really start to make conscious choices on the kind of film maker you want to be.
How do you balance meeting commercial objectives without sacrificing your art?
Like I said, you have to accept that sometimes you’re a hired gun and that you’re doing something for a client and ultimately they have the final say. But it’s always a collaboration and I’m always happy to engage in the sometimes difficult creative conversations. It’s a process at the end of the day.
What’s your advice for emerging filmmakers wanting to make their stamp in the industry?
Just keep at it. Everyone says it but it’s true, you have to have the courage to carry on.
What are you most looking forward to with your adventure with The Gate?
The variety of exciting projects, being part of a team of like minded creative makers, a good laugh!