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Filmmaker Gabriel Boyer on Inspirations, Creative Journey, and Future Projects

Gabriel Boyer is a rising star in the world of filmmaking, hailing from France. Known for his dynamic storytelling and technical prowess, Boyer has captivated audiences with his unique vision and compelling narratives. From his early fascination with cinema, sparked by classics like “Jaws” and “Top Gun,” to his acclaimed short films such as “Full Throttle” and “Go West,” Boyer has consistently demonstrated a passion for exploring diverse themes and pushing the boundaries of the medium. In this interview, we delve into his journey as a filmmaker, his creative inspirations, and his exciting future projects. What was it about cinema that interested you from an early age? Can you recall any movies or specific moments that influenced your decision to become a filmmaker?

“Jaws”, when I was 12 years old, was the starting point for my desire to become a real filmmaker, as I’d already made parodies of cult films at that time. This big spectacle by director Steven Spielberg impressed me so much that I looked at his entire filmography and could guess that it was one of his movies just by looking at the VHS covers.

The second movie that confirmed this was Top Gun. This movie is a real technical achievement for its time. It stands the test of time and allows directors like me to acquire technical and visual know-how.

The fact that you can imagine a story, put it down on paper and materialize it in the image is a thrill for me. Seeing your idea in three lines on the big screen immediately confirmed that this was the job for me.

Your early work includes several short films, including “The Green Dragon”. What themes or messages did you explore in these early projects, and how do they compare to your later work?

The film features the theme of revenge, and was briefly inspired by the 1955 Spencer Tracy film “Bad Day At Black Rock”. Indeed, this was an early exercise in style, unlike “Full Throttle” or “Go West”, whose themes were more accessible and mainstream.

But this film was a fine lesson in directing, because a thriller has its codes. There was also the western theme, where the hero arrives from the unknown in a rural setting where the social schema is already established between the characters.

Your first short film as a director, “Full Throttle”, was released in 2022. What challenges did you face in making your first short film and how did this influence your work?

Indeed, this was my first short film, and perhaps the most difficult to organize, but that was the aim, because planning a car race in the streets of Toulouse in the middle of June is no easy task.

To begin with, I wanted opening credits worthy of a Top Gun visual, a sunny race with a Rock & Roll backdrop, a pure entertainment product, but to achieve this I needed permits to film in the streets and above all to avoid crossing paths with the police during the shooting, which fortunately we avoided.

Given the length of the short film, I wanted a highly visual and stylized production that resembled a video clip, especially as this is a film in which the characters have no dialogue. So the technique had to be as raw as possible. Especially for a first short film, I wanted to get to grips with this technical aspect instead of directing actors.

In fact, Full Throttle won the prize for best trailer at the international REDMovieAwards festival.

Your latest short film, “Go West”, released in 2024, follows Vincent, a young hitchhiker, and Joseph, a former humanitarian convoy driver. What inspired this story, and what themes do you explore through these characters?

The idea came from my own Hollywood dream, but was confirmed by Peter Biskin’s book “The New Hollywood”, which retraces the period in the 70s when filmmakers and directors were working together to create a new Hollywood.

This quote immediately appealed to me and inspired me to write this short film set against the backdrop of a road movie. I’d say that one of the films that also inspired me in terms of character development was Barry Levinson’s Rain Man. Two characters at odds with each other set off on a long journey of initiation. Go West is about the big dreams or unfulfilled dreams we can have, and the long road to get there. Vincent is young and ambitious, while the older Joseph stagnates in a life of dead ends… But the Hollywood dream will take them far.

How do you go about developing and fleshing out the characters in your films? Do you draw inspiration from real-life experiences or people you know?

I draw inspiration from the people around me, particularly in terms of their experiences and desires. It always makes the characters seem more “real”. I’d like to point out that the character of Joseph is directly inspired by the real-life story of the actor who plays him, which facilitated the dialogues and his performance in the film. I like to emphasize the transmission from one experience to another, which helps strengthen the bonds between the characters. I like to think that, after the success of Top Gun, Tom Cruise chose his roles as a young leading man with actors from another era in the roles of mentors, such as Robert Duvall in Jour de Tonnerre, Paul Newman in La Couleur de l’Argent, Gene Hackman in the firm or Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man as mentioned above.

What are your plans for the future? Are there any specific genres or types of stories you’d like to explore in your future projects?

I have 2 big projects in mind. I’m currently writing the feature film adaptation of Go West, which I hope to be able to produce, and the second will be on the delicate theme of life after life. The story is written, but I need to keep refining the details to keep it logical, understandable and captivating.

I’d also like to explore the action genre, taking up the thread of Full Throttle, which I feel can bextended and of which I’ve already thought of making a sequel…

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