Simon Saulnier

Born in 1988 in Paris, Simon directed his first short film at the age of sixteen “La couleur sang”, a horror film that he produced while working as an intern in studios facilities in France. In 2007, he directed “Babylone” a short science-fiction movie with a very cyberpunk aesthetic and selected in Abu Dhabi Film Festival. After directing several music videos, in 2015 he finished “La lisière / The Edge”, a drama sci-fi short. Its worldwide premiere will be held at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Since then, it has been selected for various prestigious genre film festivals such as Sitges, Lund and Brussels.

Dust Films

Q & A

If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?

No, the point is I wanted to show a world close to ours, but completely deviant socially and ecologically. But I think we are already in this world for some parts. No I wouldn’t, I love the fact that is a fantasy, because sci-fi isn’t really is about a better world, the point is to aim some problems In our reality and extrapolate them… BUT, I wouldn’t say no to live in the Star Wars world actually.

Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?

I love the character of Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, trying to figure what is his purpose, what is his place in his world, Struggling with his thoughts and identity. I think it’s really like many people felt in 2020.

Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?

Robot are imitating humans based on what programmed them for (basically). I love the fact that a movie is an “imperfection” of the creator’s craft. That’s make a movie human. You can’t trick imperfection if you are programmed to upgrading your creator. Movies like Alien, Blade Runner, THX1138, Green Soylent are not perfect, that’s make their beauty.

In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?

Probably Tony Parker and Bryan Cranston.

You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?

I think there is no bad ideas, but there is process to improve and grow any idea. Most of the time, an bad idea needs time and tests to be a good one, but we throw them away very quickly.

Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?

I don’t think, but, I’d like to be. My fictional future isn’t beautiful, so I tried to be in the present. In the present time, we really need to think week to week routine, almost day to day.

Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?

I would say I’m both, I can’t read books on tablets, I rather buy a Blu-ray than watch Netflix. I think we are fetishist on objects and possession, but I’m fine with that. Yes completely disconnect, for THE EDGE, we used Arri Alexa and tried to have an old look on the picture and break the digital look, we used old Panavision lenses because we wanted to have something from the past, like a picture from 70’s (I don’t know if we succeed), through cinematography, objects, etc. So, much closer to 35mm . And for my older short BABYLONE, which is sci-fi a cyberpunk world, we used 35mm, to fill this dystopian world organically because the character looked for something human and real, but also at the time in 2007, digital was not that improved.

When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?

With the production designers and costumer designers I worked with, we tried to find the right balance between sci-fi and contemporary world. Also put in Sci-fi very old items (like an old book, an old ring… a watch… ) that put the audience and character in a familiar environment. Also some items has to mean something, like the bubbles the characters live in.

Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?

Star Wars Philip K. Dicks Practical (but we really need the money, time and tricks for) Dystopia Pre Apocalypse