Two sworn adversaries, both frustrated by the way the world has reduced them to stereotypes, defy their own expectations when they bond in their shared hatred for a homosexual man. It's just another night in what was once known as the "City of Love"... GILLES is a short film about the randomness of hatred, how it can destroy, and how it can unite.
A couple of years ago, two separate Paris-based events hit the headlines that seemed to be linked in some inevitable, ironic way. First, there was an enormous demonstration against the legalization of same-sex marriage - one that, strangely enough, united extreme-right nationalists and orthodox muslims from the banlieues. Not long after, Dutchman Wilfred de Bruijn was beaten up in those same Parisian streets for being gay.
It's stuff that makes your blood curdle. And yet, we couldn't help but be intrigued by the sad truths underlying these events: the impact of group identities, the need for an antagonist, the importance of being "included", the labels that society so relentlessly applies, the vulnerability of words in the face of violence - and all of this set against the beautiful backdrop of Paris...
This is why we created Gilles. Because what the hell is going on?!
It's a Saturday night in Paris.
Two guys get kicked out of a night club: one - GUILLAUME - is a short, wiry white guy, singled out for his agitating behavior on the dancefloor, probably under the influence of something; the other - REDOUAN - is a tall, slick guy of Algerian descent, purposely dressed to blend in with the white, well-to-do crowd around here.
As they both walk away from the club, they continue their argument from opposite sides of the street - until things turn nasty, and racist, and both of them see no other option but to turn their frustration into actions. A violent fistfight ensues between them, in the middle of the road.
Then, someone else intervenes. As he manages, however briefly, to pull the two guys away from each other, his male lover calls his name from further down the street. "Gilles! Let's go home."
Even though they have the opportunity now to walk away, Guillaume and Redouan process all this quickly, feverishly, maliciously. They can't believe a gay man just tried to tell them not to fight. Who the fuck does he think he is?!
Before Gilles can fathom what's going through their heads, he finds the guys' fists and feet land on his face and body. The guys act out their hatred and frustration on the guy who could have saved them from themselves.
Then, when the sounds of police sirens suddenly approach, the two adversaries run away together, united in their hatred - leaving the lights of the City of Love looming over Gilles' motionless body.
Gilles was first conceived by screenwriter Wander Theunis back in 2013. As he and co-writer Ashar Medina continued working on the story and characters, the project was pitched to director Jordi Wijnalda. World events such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks instilled a growing sense of frustration, sadness and cynicism in the three of us, which made us realize Gilles was the one project we really had to set in motion now.
We joined forces with emerging producers Erik Glijnis, Jessie Mentjox and Rogier Kramer, and together, we managed to get a big boost from the new Dutch microbudget film financing scheme "De Ontmoeting" ("The Encounter"). This resulted in the support of renowned Dutch film and TV production company BIND and its leading men, Joram Willink and Piet-Harm Sterk.
We are aiming to shoot this short film in the second half of May with the help of an international cast and crew (the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and the United States). None of us will get paid for their work on this ultra-low-budget project, but we all believe enough in the urgency and relevancy of the story to think outside of the boxes dictated by the film industry. Whatever financial resources we end up having will go directly to the only costs we cannot avoid: equipment, transportation to/from/within Paris, accommodation, and some warm meals for our endlessly energetic team.
IF YOU SHARE OR UNDERSTAND OUR NEED TO TELL OUR STORY, WE ASK YOU KINDLY TO HELP US! DONATIONS OF ANY SIZE MAKE A GREAT DIFFERENCE IN OUR ATTEMPT TO BRING THIS FILM TO LIFE. AND IF WE REACH OUR GOAL, THE TOTAL AMOUNT WILL BE DOUBLED!
And if you don't have the financial means to do so, no worries! We'd greatly appreciate it if you could share this call for support among your own network of friends, family, colleagues, and potentially interested semi-strangers.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME AND SUPPORT!
Dit project wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door het VSB fonds.