Maxime Roy, an accomplished actor and filmmaker involved in five productions over the past two years, whose short “Beautiful Loser” was nominated for a César, is participating in this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival with his latest short “Sole Mio,” finishing its worldwide festival lifecycle having previously played at Palm Springs in the U.S., Huesca in Spain and Bogoshorts in Colombia.
“Sole Mio” turns on Daniel, a young man coping as best he can with his frustrated mother, desperate to hear news from her ex-husband and Daniel’s father. Dad finally shows up, with little warning, at Daniel’s place the day before a sex change operation so she can physically become Lisa, the woman she’s identified as for some time. After an evening experiencing the gamut of emotions associated with distant father drama, Daniel must eventually put his foot down and force his father to share a hard truth with his family.
Roy spoke with Variety ahead of MyFrenchFilmFestival, where the film will stream in the short film competition.
Where did this idea come from, and how did it develop into the short film you ended up with?
The idea comes from the true story of my friend Gall Gaspard. A few years ago, his father decided to finally transition to become what she had been for a long time, a woman. His father asked Gall to hide this decision from his ex-wife, Gall’s mother. This secret can be hard to bear for a child who loves both his parents. Gall and I hadn’t seen this subject presented in film from a child’s point of view, or with such a late in life choice for a parent to make. The idea was to write a script which would help the father be understood and talk about the impact of the choice on a family.
Can you talk briefly about Gall’s involvement as a co-writer?
It was essential to include Gall in the writing process of the script because he holds in himself the raw material of experience. Through this process, cinema can untie a knot in one’s life, while through writing, allowing him to move towards comprehension and acceptance. Through truth, we try to create fiction in an act of goodwill towards its subject.
Were you able to go to any festivals with the film before COVID-19 shifted everything online?
The film was shown at the beautiful festival of Brest in France, where it was wonderfully welcomed, and then was selected for several online festivals in France and abroad, where it received different awards, the Youth Prize at Côté Court at Pantin and a wonderful acting prize for Jackie Ewing at Format Court, who not only plays Gall’s father in the film, but is his father in real life.
You are an accomplished actor as well as a filmmaker. Did you ever consider performing in this short, and do you have a preference between acting and writing/directing?
Gall was the only actor who could play this role with accuracy, even more since we also decided to film with his father Jackie playing the father. Their relationship is unique. As to my preference between directing and acting, I’m actually developing my second feature film as a director, a musical about the period that we’re going through now, in which I also act. So I’d say both.
What are you working on now?
I directed my first feature film, which is the extension of “Beautiful Loser,” another short film of mine which was nominated at the French Academy César Awards for best short film in 2020, with François Créton, Ariane Ascaride, Richard Bohringer, Clotilde Courau, and Patrick D’Assumçao. I finished post-production in 2020, and we’re waiting to present it at international festivals this year before releasing it in theaters in France.