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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Cyril Morin @ 70th Cannes Film Festival.


Writer/Director/Composer Cyril Morin

French born Cyril Morin is a man of many talents. A prolific music composer, writer, director and producer, some of his many credits include: 'Samsara' (2001), 'A Simple Heart' (2008), 'I Do' (2015), 'Hacker's Game' (2015), 'NY84' (2016) and 'An American Trilogy' (2017). He spends his time working between Europe, USA and China and is proof that to be successful in the film business, it helps to be a Renaissance personality like himself.

I have known Cyril since our first interview in 2010. We recently held our 2nd interview during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival.


You first started as a film composer. Now you write, direct and produce. Is there one thing you like more than the others?

CYRIL: I love being the three - writer/director/composer - but not necessarily on the same film. I love the diversity of my job every day. I'm writing a lot, but when I have music to compose I feel I'm in my comfort zone because I've been composing soundtracks for more than 20 years. Writing and directing is more recent. By reuniting several art forms, I'm learning new things every day. I'm learning also about the interaction of those arts.


You are a prolific filmmaker. How do you make so many films when so many filmmakers find it hard to make one film? What is your secret?

CYRIL: My secret would be "Don't speak about it - just do it!" or "don't ask for permission". There are many ways to perform your art nowadays. You can do your first feature by yourself with a small budget, then have some help for the next one, then raise more money, find a star, or create a star. In any case "do something, deliver something" whatever it is! It is important to have stuff done.


One of your latest works is a series of three feature films called 'An American Trilogy'. What is it about?

CYRIL: I decided to put together three feature films I produced in the States, about three American tragedies, which are also universal for the rest of the world. The subjects are about Aids, hacking, or about the Native American in our recent world. Those three films where produced the same way, with a small budget and a team of actors who are sometimes playing in two of the films. But the three films exist independently, with no connection to each other. If you watch the "making of" on the Bluray, there are some key words to understand my work. (The Activist/ NY84/  Hacker's Game - available on iTunes).


Your latest feature was NY84. Can you speak about that film and what inspired you to write it?

CYRIL: At the beginning of the 80's, the freedom of the music, the films and the art in general was inspiring to me. I mostly wanted to speak about the AIDS epidemic and the reaction from the street POV, like the artists who payed a strong tribute with Aids. They also warned the population at the time. My characters are NY Jules and Jim, full of hope but stopped by the illness. Only one will survive. "NY84" is dedicated for those artists, famous or not. 


Do you think its easier these days to produce and fund your own films and sell them or to do it the traditional way of finding investors, cast, etc.?

CYRIL: I think it's even better to finance your first or second film yourself. This allows you to do what you want (beside the budget problem). This freedom is a great opportunity to express yourself in the field you like. You don't want to wait years just for a $100,000 film.


You also make music videos. Can you speak about that?

CYRIL: I started doing music videos that were excerpts from my feature films, as some scenes were already like music videos. I like to do one here and there. I'm a story teller, so I'm looking for stories first.


You attended 70th annual Cannes Film Festival. Did you get further along with your next projects by being there?

CYRIL: I'm dealing now the development for my next feature, which was wrapped in Cannes this year! My goal as a writer is to sign scripts. I signed four projects last year, including a French series and a French feature (that I'm not directing). This year, my goal is to sign onto international projects in different ways (features, documentaries and series). I'm working on this now until the end of the year. I wish to start the production of my next feature film in 2018. Meanwhile, I have fun writing, making music, and shooting short formats (commercial or music videos).


Why, in your opinion, is it important for filmmakers to attend Cannes?

CYRIL: It's important because all the film world is there for a week or so. Over the years I learned a lot about the rules of the market that I didn't want to see or admit at first. I made progress by doing projects which are now in the comfort zone of some producers. I propose more mainstream films with a meaning and the need of a star or two.


What are you working on next?

CYRIL: I just shot a commercial. I'm writing a biopic. I'm doing the music for a huge Show in an amusement Park in China and I composed the music for an Oscar nominee who is making his directorial debut. In September, I'm releasing a new album influenced by 70's jazz. Of course, I have co-writers, a music producer and great people around me to work with. You can't do anything if you're alone... 

NY84 by Writer/Director/Composer Cyril Morin

Interview with Writer/Director/Composer Cyril Morin


Interview conducted by Vanessa McMahon; posted on June 6th, 2017.