THOMAS LESOURD : 1 MAN FILMMAKING MACHINE
We discovered Thomas Lesourd during Brain Wash Paris, where we screened the first episode of his series, Double Rainbow Origins. We got so hooked on the six and a half other episodes that we needed to tell everyone about them. Then we talked about robots, pedophiles and youtube...
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a director, an active member of the Kino movement and I work as a resident for the festival Off Courts, in Trouville, France. There, I organise creative labs and lead some campaigns to help film creation in places like Madagascar. It's thanks to Off Courts and their equipment that I was able to make the series, that was actually filmed in a 100-meter radius around and in their offices.
Double Rainbow Origins is a series of 7.5 episodes, plus a spin-off. It's a geek opera, a sort of Star Wars saga, but where the characters are all taken from internet "memes."
Why did you name it after the hit youtube video?
When you explore the world of "memes," one of the craziest things is the amount of rainbows and unicorns that are on the web. Type “rainbow” and “unicorn” in google images and you're set for hours...
That video, where the guy falls into tears in front of his Double Rainbow is really one of the best of the genre. So it was a great point of entry in that universe.
How much time did it take you to make the 7.5 episodes?
I pretty much made one every month between November 2010 and May 2011. They took about two days of shooting, but it varied. For example, we made episode 3 in 24 hours, from the writing to the final piece. But the last episode took me 15 days of after effects. And the series required a lot of them... crafting the fake long takes in every episode being only one of these effects.
Speaking of the after effects, did you do everything yourself? How much did you spend on this project?
Yeah, I did everything: the camera, the sound, the grading... Except the alien masks. They were made by Marine Broussaud. It's 100% homemade, though I have to say that everyone really participated in the writing of their own characters and in the references inside the series. There are references to things I haven't even seen, just because the others were fans.
The writing sessions were almost always done with the actors, and in front of a computer that played youtube videos and film excerpts on repeat. It maintained the flux of information and everyone was in the same mood.
So you were inspired by youtube videos, which one is your favourite these days?
I'm a big fan of freddiew. He pretty much makes historical viewing numbers every week with his hallucinatory gunfights in stupid a stupid video game world. It's funny, the direction is awesome and it's also intelligent. For me, he's the leader of homemade for a large audience.
Which one would you show to your grandmother?
I used to not show her anything because she would have found it completely stupid, but since she got Al Zheimer's, it's not important because she forgets...
Alien versus robot, who wins?
That's a very technical question. It depends on the robot and on the alien. I bet a Decepticon beats the fuck out of an H.R. Giger alien... but I'm pretty sure a Predator easily kills the T-800.
No, seriously, any robot accompanied by a unicorn has a big advantage. The robot-unicorn is omniscient.
The bad guy in DRO is a pedobear... Were you traumatized as a child?
Maybe. I escaped a side-of-the-road rape at 13, thanks to my bike. A year earlier, we saved a friend who had been lured into a house by a pedophile. The joys of living in the countryside...
It's good because it didn't traumatize me THAT much. And it gives me an excuse to joke about it. I'm allowed. Just like Chris Rock and his racist jokes, I make jokes on pedophilia.
If you're looking for some kind of meaning in the series though, you'll notice that everyone is super violent and obsessed with sex, and that humans are all completely racist and misogynous … Pedobear is really the most coherant element, the perfect opposite of the unicorn and also, one of the funniest things on the web today. I think the concept is brilliant.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm making a completely unofficial adaptation of the game Space Invaders. We finished shooting 10 days ago and I'll be working for a while on the post-production. It's a really serious war film, but with Invaders in 2D like in the game. A sort of mix between Children of Men and Pixels...
And when I'm done with that, I'll make my first auto-produced feature, because shorts and series are pretty cheesy, you know.
Watch the complete series for free at: Double Rainbows Origins
And check out Thomas' latest project at: Invaders From Space
By PAULINE EIFERMAN