#SHORTVIEW: “Ms. Liliane” by Junna Chif

Synopsis:

In a primary school, teacher Liliane anxiously awaits an important phone call. Her student Mathieu is even more of a disturbance than usual, but after Liliane receives a distressing call, Mathieu turns a difficult day for Liliane into a magical one.


IN OUR SADDEST MOMENTS


> Why were you interested in shooting this story?

I respect a lot the children’s heart, this kind of feeling that we lose as adults. I think we ought to learn from it. So I wanted to explore that: I created this story about something bad happening to a teacher in the context of the children’s innocence, because I wanted to focus on the children’s perspective and how their warmth would come into play.

> Despite dealing with cancer, your short film displays a very bright-hearted core. Why did you decide on this?

The film is not really about illness, and I didn’t want to put illness on the centre of the story. The centre was to be children’s perspective about life, and how simple and beautiful life can be when seen through their eyes.

The illness that Lilliane carries is just an element of the story, but the real magic is in the way that the children react to this problem. Of course, we adult see illness as something tragic and unbearable, but I wanted to show that, even in our saddest moments, beauty can be expressed, and our perspectives can be changed.

> Did you find any big problems working with kids?

I’m pretty good at working with children and understanding them – I think it all comes down to knowing how to talk to them and make them listen. We had a lot of rehearsals before the shootings, so we were able to check that they were up to the task.

> You’ve been someone who had worked a lot with -and for- children. How could short movies make themselves more attractive to younger people?

I think that a big problem nowadays is that many short films are only made for film festivals. I think that when we make short films, we should always try to look beyond festivals, and seek other perspectives, other ways of telling stories. We should always seek any and all opportunities to promote and advance the medium. If we do that, people will notice.


Junna Chif did not disclose any information regarding present or future projects.