You’re showing two winegrowers’ portraits at the Oenovideo festival, Jean-Michel Deiss and Anselme Sélosse. Why and how did you choose them?
Along with the producer Jérôme Pierdet, we didn’t have anything set in stone about making films on a wine theme; but we had certain principles and particular ideas about the growers we wanted to meet and explore.
Jean-Emmanuel Simond, the program’s writer, works in the wine world. His company organizes wine tours and tastings (www.oenotropie.com). He pushed us in the right direction.
We’ve filmed 24, wide-ranging thirteen-minute portraits; covering the personalities, regions (with support of the producers’ associations) and the wines made. We were careful to paint a balanced picture: Anselme Sélosse who only works with his grapes, but also Ruinart who buy the growers’ entire harvest.
What’s your ultimate goal in terms of audience?
These snapshots will mainly be of interest to those with some wine knowledge. But we made sure they’re accessible for people interested without the winemaking baggage – including young people who we frequently describe as not liking wine.
Each episode starts by quickly introducing a wine but then looks in more detail into the equation ‘wine = terrain + person’. Different people make different wines from the same terrain. And even more so when these people are real characters... What fascinates us deep down, are thoughtful winegrowers. Thoughts on history, culture, maturing their wines carefully and even how they sell them...
Has Mondovino opened the door to a wave of films about winemakers and grape growers?
The idea actually came to us before Mondovino came out. We heard about the film from Etienne de Montille when we were shooting the pilot program at his place. But we felt the wine world was really happening and there was room for a new approach to it. There was something in the air. We stopped questioning ourselves: there was no way we were going to make films about bottles of wine, like a ‘cookery program.’ It was about filming snapshots of winegrowers, artists’ portraits whose way of expressing themselves is through wine.
These growers... were they easy to talk to?
Definitely. We could only devote two or three days to each of them. But they were all happy to stimulate our appetite, explain things, tell stories and trust us... Filming was surprisingly simple, even when there were problems such as Jean-Michel Deiss and his rainy harvest... In addition, none of them considered this as a promotional selling tool.
What are your plans now?
The whole series was made in 2005. We’re now editing most of the episodes. They’ll be broadcast on cable TV, on the Odyssey channel, from October. Depending on interest, it’s possible we’ll produce them on DVD and shoot some more portraits. There are so many enthusiastic and enthusing winegrowers!
Words noted by André Deyrieux