We spoke to Jenna Suru again after ‘The Golden Age’ premiered. See the previous one here.
Welcome back to TV Series Hub, how have things changed for you from our last interview?
Things have moved to an even more wonderful place! This is the beginning of the Festival phase for The Golden Age, the film was Awarded Best Foreign Feature in Massachusetts 2 months ago. The West Coast Premiere took place on October 26th at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival at the mythical Regal LA Live and was truly magical. In particular, I was very touched the audience applauded so much, including for the very last seconds of the film which reveal my tribute: “For Artists who change the World”. This simply means the World to me, as it convinced me the audience had spent a great time and was responding to that message.
I discussed the film on the Q&A immediately after the screening and as a panelist on the Festival panel about Online Marketing & Distribution. It’s a great privilege to be able to discuss with the audience and hear their reactions, which really touched me not only as a Director, but also as a Writer, Producer and Actress.
For those hearing about this for the first time, how would you describe ‘The Golden Age’?
The Golden Age tells a story that has never been told on the screen before. Through the story of Angèle and Sebastian, these two young people struggling to maintain their artistic integrity, the film highlights on the artistic journey and fight for change.
I created The Golden Age for two main reasons: pay tribute to the World-Changing Charms of 60s Saint-Tropez, and encourage the audience to change the world on their own scale. First, it was very important to me that the audience can experience that magical 60s Douce France atmosphere through the 35 exceptional locations: Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Bir-Hakeim Bridge near the Eiffel Tower, the Saint-Tropez harbor, Ramatuelle beaches, a period train, etc., all revealed by a specific use of color, the magical light of this famous village and refreshing use of music. The Golden Age is a unique way to experience 60s Saint-Tropez through a Neo New Wave eye. Aside from this modern tribute, the film is also the very last drama fiction that has ever been shot around Notre-Dame Cathedral in its XIXth century form.
The Golden Age also suggests some ideas of how you can bring change, which is a tough journey and also often requires putting aside your personal success. The Beatles perfectly exemplify how artists managed to bring change in the 60s, for instance when they refused to perform in front of a segregated audience in Jacksonville in the USA in September 1964.
Where is the show available to watch?
For now The Golden Age is at the beginning of its festival phase, and we’re very looking forward to a European and Asian Premiere in 2020. Film is also meant to be released worldwide in theatres, then TV, video, etc. Meanwhile, I’ve discussed many topics around the film on interviews and shows in Europe and in the USA, which are available on our website and social media for you to watch!
‘The Golden Age’ previewed some time ago with a lot of feedback. What are your thoughts on the reactions?
Thank you, it was a wonderful opportunity to screen the film both West and East Coast in such quality Festivals. I was amazed by the wonderful questions from the audience, both at the Massachusetts IFF and DTLA Film Festival. I was thrilled by their reactions, they were so right on the money and corresponded perfectly to The Golden Age and my vision for it.
I was very touched that the feedback from an American audience is that you can live the 60s through the film, and that I captured exactly what it feels to be a male American. History and sociology fascinate me, I interviewed many people before writing the script, so receiving such feedback is a great compliment.
Something surprised and amazed me, as sometimes I like to leave some interpretations of the film up to the audience. There is one of those moments that leaves it up to the audience at the end of The Golden Age, and I received the most amazing interpretation of it from one of the members of the audience. I can’t reveal it without revealing the end of the film, I will leave it up to you to watch and tell me what you think!
It also won the ‘Best Foreign Feature’ in Massachusetts, how was the feeling of the cast and yourself after that?
We couldn’t feel more happy and thankful for this Best Foreign Feature Award at the very beginning of the Festival phase of The Golden Age. We hope the film will receive many more Awards and that its message will be heard and seen by as many people as possible! Fight for change is a truly important one, especially in those times. The film is an important tribute to artists and all those who fight and struggle to have a voice and bring change, whether successful or nor. It was very important for us to give our very best to honor them. This Award made us feel like we did a good job and is a wonderful recognition.
Additionally, The Golden Age is meant to be seen by an international audience, so receiving this Award in Massachusetts feels wonderful as it shows the high international potential of the film, which speaks to internationals through its universal message. The Golden Age isn’t just a tribute to French Patrimoine. Through the soundtrack, it’s also a tribute to all those rock stars, to anyone who fights to change the world on her or his own scale.
What is next in store for ‘The Golden Age’?
In the short term, a lot more interviews, Festivals and Markets. They are such wonderful opportunities to discuss the Film with the audience, hear their reactions so we can distribute the film worldwide in the best way possible. I’m excited for The Golden Age to be released in theaters internationally, then on TV and video. The film suggests some ways to bring change and I hope it will encourage all generations to take action, even if they don’t feel important, rich or powerful.
How will this experience benefit you for your next projects?
The Golden Age is a wonderful experience for me to connect with the audience and see how they respond to such an ambitious project I’ve written and directed. Giving hope and touching the audience was my main goal since I wrote the script, seeing their positive reactions is my biggest reward. It’s a great experience in terms of distribution, as The Golden Age is meant to be distributed in theatres worldwide. I’m convinced this experience will benefit me tremendously for the next films I’ll support in their international distribution.
The film is also a very precious experience for me as a producer, being the one and only producer of a period drama with so many exceptional locations made me an experienced and skilled Line Producer. I’ve line produced a few more films since then, including The Sesh, a British drama fiction which will be released in the Festival circuit in 2020.
What was the biggest lesson you learned so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from the film is the importance of being prepared and surrounding yourself with the very best of people. The Golden Age is a very ambitious period drama, and it was wonderful to see how coming in so prepared made this film shoot possible for me as a Director Actress. I had rehearsed for weeks, prepared a huge shot list and discussed the details of each scene with the whole cast and crew members prior to filming.
On a more personal level, The Golden Age helped me understand precisely who I am, both as a professional and a person. Through the amazing individuals I’ve partnered with along this journey, and wonderful experiences, I’ve got inspired by the very best of every person I’ve met, improved a lot on many levels and grown a better person out of me. I wanted to create a film that would be a tribute to those artists who passed by Saint-Tropez and wanted to change the world… in the end, I realized I had actually become one of them – in my modest way. This is the most wonderful gift I’ve ever received thanks to the film. I wasn’t even hoping for such an achievement.
Outside it, are there any other projects that you are looking at?
I’ve started writing another period drama, also set between France and the USA, that I’m willing to film with top-level actors. Again, music will hold a special place in the story.
I’m also directing and lead acting in the British comedy horror feature « Fang Girl », which will be filming mostly in France.
Last but not least, I’m looking forward to working on the distribution strategy of various projects in 2020. Whether it’s a short, feature film or TV pilot, I’m excited to build a distribution plan with their creators and give their projects the best chances they can get.
Thank you for joining us again, what are you looking most forward to next year in terms of your career?
I’m willing to direct and act more in the future, hopefully alongside A-level actors. Working with such actors as Robert Sheehan and Rosie Day was wonderful, I’d love to pursue directing or acting alongside such talented individuals. I’m looking forward to very exciting times filming in 2020!
Equally, I’m willing to develop the consulting services of my company Belle Époque Films. I love meeting new talents and discovering new content. I’m excited to push new projects forward both in Festivals and theatres worldwide.