Last month, I had the pleasure of talking with filmmakers Lora D’Addazio, Mathilde Remy, and Alexandre Mailleux-three-fourths of the team behind a French short film called PTSD. The three are a part of a team called CaLM, which features them and another member named Claudia Cortes-Espejo. Together, the four of them make an independent production company called I Do What I Want Productions. Their film PTSD is three stories combined into one anthology-like short film. These stories followed 1) A young boy trying to remove a tapeworm from his mother, 2) three swans meeting a duck that they don’t realize is a floaty, and 3) a chain of events that lead to chaotic outcomes. Remy animated the duck scene, D’Addazio worked on the tapeworm story, and Cortes-Espejo did the last one. As for Mailleux, he wrote the film and is credited as a “scenario.” The team itself is a prime example of a team where the team members all have the same sense of humor and close relationships with each other.
Remy began by sharing that CaLM first came together when they made the idea for PTSD. However, they made their first film The Coming in one week, which was shorter than in comparison to the making of PTSD. Remy stated that she originally had the idea of PTSD, and shared it with the rest of the team. However, they put it off to make The Coming. While making PTSD, each of the three stories was told with different animation styles done by Cortes-Espejo, Remy, and D’Addazio. “I made the duck movie,” Remy stated, “it was more about the interaction between people, so it was not the kind of character I use (to write) normally.” Remy went on to add that she likes writing about insane people and finds it easier to write about bad people. “Because we write separately, we put our stories (together) and saw all these different styles of people. It was harder to put it together,” she said.
The group found success off of both of their films as they were able to make The Coming in the time they did and PTSD was even bigger as it was a longer project. “We made eight minutes in three months. We had more actors, we were in different countries.” The team had three of them in Belgium working on PTSD, then in Britain, Brazil, and eventually back home in France separately. Mailleux chimed in on Remy’s comment and added “[A]t the beginning, it was just Mathilde’s idea of a weird discussion between those ducks. Then at some point, we realized that the other directors (Lora and Claudia) had ideas that were not the same, but similar to some point.” He also stated that they went ahead and jumped right in with their ideas and into pre-production and production without thinking about the story.
“At an early stage, we decided wanted to make the three stories become one story, but we didn’t go deep into thinking,” Mailleux said. He then explained that the whole process is like the name of their production company, they just do what they want regardless of what’s on the production schedule. “We try to make things light in terms of production so that we can have a script, and begin,” Mailleux said. However, the team did come across problems while making PTSD and going at their own pace. Like they said earlier, the team was working on this project in different countries and away from each other. Despite working on the project away from each other, they still get whatever needs to be done.
Before this interview, I tried to piece together why PTSD is called PTSD. When I asked about what the title has to do with what’s going on, Mailleux gave me an interesting response. “The common trait in the three stories is that it’s about traumatism, but we talk about that in a light way. We don’t want to talk about soldiers coming home from war, we just want to make things light,” Mailleux said. He even said that the humor they experimented in with PTSD is like that of the TV show South Park. Adding on, Remy, D’Addazio, and Mailleux taught me that people shouldn’t think so hard on PTSD because it is simply an out of context film with foolish humor. “Don’t go too far with this movie,” Mailleux concluded simply.