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Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
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Meet The Director, Paul Mignot

Picture of Sean Scarisbrick
Updated: 21 December 2016
New York, meet the director of Believe, the Petite Prix Film winner at this year’s Chelsea Film Festival, a film which beautifully traces storylines in Argentina, India, and the U.S. Paul Mignot lives in Paris, and he has directed a number of commercials for companies like Jeep, Lexus, and Dior. The Culture Trip had the opportunity to catch up with Paul Mignot and find out about his life, techniques, and aspirations.

‘Believe’ Trailer, Directed by Paul Mignot

How has it been receiving such excellent acclaim for your work?

It was very powerful. I came to New York to present Believe after shooting around the world for almost three years. Two awards for this first festival was the perfect way to give it birth in the eyes of a large audience. Believe is more than a short film for me, it is a humanist message outside from any religion or politics. The attacks on Paris last week had a violent impact on all of us, here in Paris, but also all around the world. Believe tries to answer that craziness by the most important answer: hope. No matter your color, your age, your religion, we are the same. Humans, fed by the essence of life, love. ‘I believe in what cannot be destroyed’ is the last sentence of the film. It sounds so meaningful these days.

Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to break into the film industry?

It’s a very hard question. To be honest, make mistakes. Mistakes in filmmaking are the best way to progress. It might sound strange but hundreds of mistakes will make hundreds of successes later. The earlier those mistakes are made, the better it will be. I am making mistakes everyday, and I love that feeling of constant learning. I have been directing commercials for almost 10 years now, and I am still challenged by any new job. A career in the film industry is a fight with yourself. You can lie to others but not to yourself. You know when you can have done better and when you really did the best. Making mistakes means doing. Starting from there, producers, agents, casting directors, anyone with the power to make you work, will spot you for sure, so be ready when that moment comes. There are no geniuses out there, just hard workers and crazy people. Quite a few are both.

‘Reflection New York’ – Mood Collection, Directed by Paul Mignot

How has New York affected you personally/professionally?

New York was a shock for me. It’s hard to explain. Anyone who experienced a walk there will understand what I mean. It’s so rich. The architecture, the energy, the light hypnotized me. In 2010 for my third trip there, I decided to shoot a short film. I only shot New York through reflections. I rented a house in Greenpoint, and I filmed for 10 days, mostly by night. I posted the movie on Vimeo and the next morning I had a few hundred e-mails from all around the world from museums, blogs, and magazines. ‘Reflection’ was selected as a staff video pick. The best part was the diffusion on Times Square I think. So, the official selection in the Chelsea Film Festival was a good excuse to book a new trip and taste again a piece of that energy.

Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot

What’s next?

For cinema, Chloe, will be my first feature film. The script is almost ready. I am in love with the story. It has a smart and really touching script. For the commercial business, I just signed the new BMW i8 commercial for Asia.

Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot

What is the most memorable moment in your career?

The recording of the score of Believe by Ludovico Einaudi, no doubt. Ludovico composed an original soundtrack for the film. One of the pieces is named ‘Believe.’ I am honored that such a genius made that gift to me. A commercial with Nicole Kidman and a lunch with Gerard Depardieu are very close behind.

What movie would you watch if it was your last day on Earth?

Hum, I would spend time with my daughter and my wife. Not sure I would like to watch a film. But I understand the question’s purpose, and I would say It’s A Wonderful Life. A masterpiece, perfect for a last day on Earth. For those who read these words: ‘If you didn’t have the chance to see it, stop everything you do and watch that movie. Right now.’

Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot

Woody Allen or Quentin Tarantino?


Shakespeare or Tolstoy?

I know the Romeo and Juliet prologue by heart. From ‘Two households, both alike in dignity’ to ‘A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.’ Thanks, Baz.

Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot

Picasso or Van Gogh?

I had the chance to study Picasso in my art school, and my apartment in Paris has a view on his museum. Van Gogh though, because I want to learn more about his art.

Marrakesh or New Delhi?


Waffle or pancake?

The answer will be both with an espresso single shot, please. And a bagel. We have none of that in Paris. Low-fat Philadelphia will be fine.

Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot
Image Courtesy of Paul Mignot

35mm or digital camera?

The perfect one for the story will be perfect.

Interview conducted by Sean Scarisbrick

Sean is a graduate student at Hunter College where he studies Middle Eastern history. He is particularly interested in cultural history and language’s contribution to culture. He loves Shakespeare, Malala Yousafzai, Game of Thrones, foreign languages (Arabic, Spanish, and French), and Arabic street art.