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Louis Mercier: a name to remember in the world of Canadian film talks to AfroToronto.com

12 Apr 2005

Louis Mercier is a young filmmaker based in Toronto with a résumé rivalling those of some of Hollywood’s major stars.. He heads up his own entertainment company, Soulion, he has already acted in a television series entitled Temps Dur for Radio-Canada (French CBC), he has completed many successful projects including Toussaint (Currently featured at the Vues d’Afriques festival in Montreal), Aces Down, Delivering Santiago and Perfect Pitch featured at this year’s Reel World film festival.

AfroToronto.com met up with Louis Mercier at The Reel World Film festival opening gala on April 13th.

AfroToronto: Louis, you have a movie featured at this year’s festival and if my recollection is correct this is not your first Reel World festival.

Louis Mercier: That’s right, this is my fourth festival. I went through hell on earth to make it and I am very proud to have it featured here.

AfroToronto: Just give us a brief description of Perfect Pitch.

Louis Mercier: The movie’s about a writer pitching a story and it gives power to writers because many times when you see a bad film, people criticize the writer. But what they don’t understand is that writers write. And in order for that writing to be turned into a film, it has to go through a lot of hoops. Most times, people with money change the story.

So we’re giving power to the writers and sending a message to people out there, you know, just saying every time you see a bad movie, don’t blame the writer. A lot of times people with money changed his story. The star behind the movie is David Eng.

AfroToronto: Any other projects you’re promoting in the upcoming weeks?

Louis Mercier: Yes. I also have another film called Toussaint that I’ll be promoting at Vues d’Afrique in Montreal. It will be shown on the 19th and 23rd of April 2005. So I am looking forward to that and doing many more collaborations with other minorities.

AfroToronto: Any other projects you’re working on at the moment beyond promotions?

Louis Mercier: I have another film called Bed of Roses with a Nigerian writer/director, I have another movie about a Haitian man moving to Canada and trying to make a better living for himself.

AfroToronto: That’s a lot of work for one year…

Louis Mercier: Well, yeah but those films are still in development we haven’t moved into full production yet.

AfroToronto: Will any of your films be screened at other festivals this year?

 

Louis Mercier: Yeah, Toussaint will be screened at the South-Asian film festival because the love story in there in the film is between a black Haitian man and a South-Asian woman, so there’s that angle that is of interest to the South-Asian community. Also Toussaint won the best foreign film at the Detroit film festival last year so the programmer wants me to bring other work because they want to keep that relationship going. So I will most likely try to promote Perfect Pitch in Detroit this year.

AfroToronto: How do you manage to find financing for all these films because you seem to do quite a few of them in a short time. Is that a difficult endeavor in of itself?

Louis Mercier: Yeah it’s very difficult because the people who hold the money tend to give it to things that have already proven themselves. My vision in storytelling is a little different. I do movies for minorities featuring minorities and also for everybody else out there who enjoys my work. So it is mostly my own finances, friends and private investors. That’s how I get financing for my films.

AfroToronto: Where do you see yourself in five years? Will Louis Mercier cross the border and become the next John Singleton or the next Spike Lee, who incidentally was in town not long ago?

Louis Mercier: Actually, five years from now, I hope I am not in film anymore. I hope to be somewhere in the UN, helping out countries politically because films can change people, but politics can change wider audiences. So I hope five years from now to be helping people not from an artistic perspective but from a political perspective.

AfroToronto: Louis Mercier, thank you very much.

Louis Mercier: Thank you.

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