In Episode 015, William talks to Alexandre Franchi, the director of Happy Face, which was showcased at the 2019 Slamdance film festival. Alex is also with two of the cast members ( David Roche (“Otis”) and Cindy Nicholsen (“Buck”), and the writer JOËLLE BOURJOLLY.
There are moments in a film that seem to stay with us long after we have seen the movie? It’s like the moment becomes a part of us in some way and helps us better understand our own personal story. That’s what the Movie Moments Podcast is all about. Join us!
(Director, Writer, Producer)
A PERSONAL STORY BY FILMMAKER ALEXANDRE FRANCHI
I grew up with a single mother who struggled with breast cancer for many years. When she was younger, she had been a beautiful woman working in the cosmetics industry — basing her self-image on her beauty and
good looks. In my teens, I remember my mother looking at herself in the mirror and touching the large scar that had replaced her left breast. Her hair had grown back, but her breast was gone. She used to cry,
lamenting that she was not a woman anymore, that no man would want her, and that she had lost her femininity. She had a few friends, read a lot, but never went out on dates and never found love again.
In my late teens,
I was diagnosed with bone cancer 8 years ago and it nearly took out my leg on top of having a 50/50 chance of survival. It was also the stay in the hospital that brought back all the memories of my mother’s cancer, the loss of body image, not being whole etc… After I slowly recovered, making the film became my first priority. Initially, HAPPY FACE was a way for me to come to terms with my guilt and to become less shallow. But by the time we finished shooting, the film had become much more than that. Cast and crew had become a family. No topic was taboo, no question was forbidden. We had discovered something about humanity. About ourselves.
HAPPY FACE CAST AND CREW
David Roche (“Otis”)
David is a pioneer of disability culture, an inspirational humorist who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with
Cindy Nicholsen (“Buck”)
Cindy was hit by a car when she was 6 years old resulting in severe seizures. The doctors gave her Epilepsy medication which stopped the seizures but had severe side effects. Having no money for private school, Cindy’s mother sent her and her sister to a convent, but Cindy was too drugged up to function adequately. At 14, and under the advice of a naturopath who declared she was not epileptic, Cindy stopped taking her medication. The seizures did not come back, but warts and tumors started to appear on her skin. By the time she was 16, her body was covered with tumors and she was diagnosed with Neufibromatosis.
JOËLLE BOURJOLLY (Writer)
Joelle is an award-winning Haitian-American writer and producer whose career highlights include the Grand Prix for Best Children’s Film for Soother at the Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Canadian Film Centre Dramatic Short Terminal Venus, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Urban Artist Initiative Fellowship. Joëlle is a past Honoree of IFP NY’s Project Involve Narrative Workshops. She is currently writing Cinnamon, a very personal story about Haitian émigrés caught up in New York’s Bicentennial celebration.
William Rowan Jr: Director, Writer, Producer, Podcaster.
Contact Movie Moments Podcast:
E-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Movie Moments Podcast on Twitter:
Thanks for listening and join us again next time on the Movie Moments Podcast.