Interview With Lila & Valentin Director Adrien Lhommedieu

Interview With Lila & Valentin Director Adrien Lhommedieu 

The short film world is such an awesome sub-culture, with such amazing people developing such fantastic ideas. Just this week I was contacted about another short film and now I’m jumping in and doing translation editing to lend a hand. (More on that film later.) The thing that I love so much about the people that makeup the short film world tend to hold their ideas with open hands. The short film world is a community that is such a fantastic community to get sucked into.

When I contact someone who has just created a short film they are just so open, and excited about their film. Heck, not only that, but when you start leaning in and helping short film creators even a little bit, they start showing up on your door. It’s just a cool little community with extremely fantastic ideas and visions for what the film world could look like.

Not sure if you all remember me going ape about a new short film called Lila & Valentin. I happened upon a trailer for the film and I absolutely adored the concept and the idea immediately. Wait stop, let’s watch the trailer, so you can see what I’m talking about…

So, after watching this trailer for the film I went on a warpath. I hauled all over the internet, rabidly tracking down Adrien with a ferocity and intentionality that caught him completely off guard when I finally found him.

15 minutes after that I was watching the full short and fairly amazed out how small the internet made the world. And then, 15 minutes after that Adrien was inviting me to California for the premier of the film at the Palm Springs Film Festival (I think that’s where the movie was premiered anyway, but its been a few months since the invite.) No really seriously… he did! hahah.

I’ll be at the Cannes Festival where the film is registered (Short Film datase, no screening), and the world premiere of the movie will be in June, at the Palm Springs Festival (official selection, still confidential because the festival want us to keep it secret before the press release). Where are you from? If you not far from LA we could meet there (I’m in LA from 06/12 to 07/01).

Seriously… that is what I love about this short film community. So cool. Regardless, Adrien was kind enough to answer a few questions for me for this discussion today. I had been hoping that Adrien would release the film to the internet, but he’s still having a great run on the film festival circuit… and so he hasn’t released it yet. But I’ll post the full movie once he does. Promise. (I really should just sneak a password out here for you all because you won’t share it with anyone… right?! hahah)

Anyway, here is my conversation with Adrien about his film.


THinc: I saw at the end that you wrote it in memory of your grandmother, is that right? (My french is only as good as Google Translate! haha.) Was she a writer?

Adrien: The film is actually dedicated to my mother, not because she was a writer, but because she passed away during the production of the film and she had a strong influence on me. I feel very sad thinking about it because she alway pushed me to do what I want (you know how mothers are…), and I’m sure she would have been very proud of the film, as it can be considered as my “first big film”. So yes, that’s why I wanted to dedicate the whole project to her memory. 

THinc: Can you tell me about the importance of the pen in the film?

Adrien: The pen is a symbol. It refers to two things :

— It’s a tool to write, then to create. As Lila is a creative person, it’s her connection to her creative process, her imagination, her world. 

— It’s her memory, because her father gave it to her. It represents both his memory and the importance he has in her life. 

This actually was a brilliant idea from a friend of mine : Alexandre Dinaut (who also edited the movie). During the writing of the screenplay, he suggested to put more emphathis on the pen, and to use it as a metaphor for Lila’s inner conflict. We see she can control her world with it, but she also uses it to invite Valentin. When she vanishes in the restaurant, all is left is the pen. What we have to understand, is that she’s okay to share this world with him ! She doesn’t want to go back, she wants him to stay with her. I know that’s maybe a little too subtle, but I like putting hints on my movie that helps to read the story on multiple layers. 

THinc: The set at the end of the film was pretty elaborate. Can you tell me a bit about that set and what it was suppose to connote? It sort of felt like it was the perfect writer’s studio. Was that Lila retreating into her subconscious forever?

Adrien: The final set is definietly the most challenging part of the production we had to deal with ! It took almost three weeks to build it, and the most difficult part was the tree ! The set design crew did an amazing job, with so much enthousiam and sense of detail. I was totally blowed when I saw the final set. I very thankful to all those people who put their hearts in it. 

In Lila’s mind, this set is probably what we can called the deeper me. It’s her retreat, the place in her mind where she feels good, where she hides her secret, her passion, her energy. But this is also a place where she is vulnerable : nature is vulnerable, light is fragile, even Lila is asleep, softly dressed. It’s a dreamy vision, but I wanted it to be a real as possible, that’s why we build everything and didn’t do CGI. We only added light-particles effects. Even the pollen is real !

Another clue I give to you about the movie : pay attention to nature elements. Because the deeper we go into Lila’s mind, the more there are plants and flowers. I had the feeling that connection with nature is a natural state of the soul. I mean, we are all connected to life. Life is nature. 

THinc: What are your hopes for the short film? Would you like to see it picked up and made into a full feature film? Would you make it in French, English? In Europe? America? 

Adrien: First of all, I’d like the movie to have a festival career. The subject is interesting enough to be developed in a feature version, you are right. If I had to do a remake or a long version, I probably would shoot it in English as the “science-fiction” genre is more respected if it comes in English language than in French. I don’t know why, but I can tell that people doesn’t believe in a sci-fi movie if it’s in French. They don’t buy it. But it’s no secret if I tell you I definietly want to turn this project into a feature version. 

THinc: What were the influences that caused you to create this film? There were a number of homages that I saw in the film, especially What Dreams May Come, Inception, and even Flatliners. Were these influences intentional? Or do you see it going in a different direction?

Adrien: At the time I was writing the screenplay, I wanted to deal with theme in relation with scientific exploration of the human soul. But the more I was going further, the more I changed this idea into something more poetic and spiritual. There are several films that had big influences on me when I was younger. I’m thinking about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for example. I think Tree of Life did something on me, but on a deeper level (not just because I like redhead girls!). 

I saw Flatliners when I was very young, and I think at that time I didn’t completely understand the movie even if I liked it very much. I just have images in mind, and of course the plot of the story which I think it extremely powerful! It certainly influenced me in a way. 


Thanks so much Adrien for taking time out to answer my questions and talk to us about the film. I can’t wait to share the full movie with everyone. Don’t be a stranger, and make sure you keep us up to date on your next project!