Exclusive Interview  with Jean-Philippe Sirois – Cinematographer

Jean-Philippe Sirois is an french aspiring cinematographer, director and camerman who comes from a small town called Otterburn Park but currently lives in Montréal for the past 4 years. ” I define myself in this passion I have for film and televison, which allowed me to travel and see and experience so many things so far. ”

When did your passion for films begin ? How did it start ?

When I was younger, I loved movies, theater, and to watch people around me. I guess it is this mixture that naturally led me to film production. My big brother was also studying in Cinema, which quickly allowed me to open up to different styles of documentary and fiction.

We know you have been a photography director, a film-maker and a cameraman. Wich path do you prefer and why ?

I love everything really. I thought about making my way to the top as a director but I missed working as a cameraman a lot. At the moment, following what contracts bring me, mostly giving me opportunities as a director of photography. This allows me to live off of my job and it is with pride that I do it.I love the fact that you kind of live in your own head or ”bubble” as a director of photography, because the job of film director sometimes requires to manage a lot of people and to constantly manage situations, to coordinate schedules and group. I have a lot to learn in both areas. I can not even think of myself as one or the other, people often call themselves too quickly and easily cinematographer, DOP or director.

How would you describe your personal style?

I think, without necessarily realizing it , I have a style of cinematography and productionof my own. I am starting to perceive it but I could not describe it. It is more often people who recognize my style and tell me about it. Music and camera movements are perhaps my specialties. There are so many ways  of filming a documentary or fiction, I think we should actually adopt our own style to every project while respecting our creative instinct.
Who is your favorite movie of all time-maker?

I always liked Martin Scorsese since I was young and I still love watching some of his films today. I’ve seen Taxi driver and Casino at least fifteen times each . I also have an addiction to films by Wim Wenders and Paul Thomas Anderson. For documentaries, Wener Herzog and Pierre Perreault have touched me.
I could also named a long list of foreign films. Sometimes we are lazy and we will search for what is the most accessible, but we must push ourselves to try and go further… thanks to the internet and some independent movie theatres, I discovered some foreign gems.

What is your perspective for the future of films ? 

I do not like to discuss new technologies because it never ends. Everything is constantly changing, bigger, more pixels, more 3d, more computers … It is important to follow the evolution of technology in our business but we must not forget that these companies are taking advantage of it to make money, which infuriates me. No matter the format or the new things coming out, the most important thing is to tell a story and to make the viewer experience something. I recently listened to a documentary, by Robert Morin, shot in poor quality video, but I forgot all aspects gears, screens etc because the film was amazing.
Which kind of movie do you like making best? And All which kind do you prefer watching?

I love making documentaries because I believe it is now more accessible for someone looking to make a something cinematically professional . But I would love to write and direct a fiction. Possibly a drama, but not necessarily in the sense of something dramatic. Otherwise, I always had a sarcastic side of me that would like to revive a kind of RBO.

What is the most challenging part about being a film-maker ?

Wait after funding and answers. Stand out in this huge pool of people who want to do the same thing as you. There are so many talented people.
What is your favorite pieces you’ve created – and what made it so special?

I have not done a lot of projects since I started, but I am proud of a documentary I made with any means possible and very little time in South Korea in Course Évasion Autour du Monde  called Toute mort est la première ( All Death is the first one ).
One of the few films I have felt whole and said all that we had to say. Otherwise my MTL 551 series on parkour, probably because I did everything from A to Z without budget and I was proud of the result.


Do you have any fun anecdotes during a shooting time ?

I have stories from the shoots in South Korea, such as fixers who offered me girls and wanted to extort money from me, or interviews in a foreign language where whe would nod our heads during interviews with a smile without understanding anything until afterwards, when the translator told us that he had just talked about his suicide attempt. I could talk at length about my shooting abroad who offered me my share of emotions in a dozen countries.
Where do you see yourself in the future? What are your goals?

Write and direct my own feature is kind of my dream. I invested in everything I did a project at a time. While remaining open to all, to learn, to challenge myself and I hope that this will lead me away. A profession of cameraman in fiction is also a goal.

Any thing else you Would like to add?

This medium is not magical and glamorous as many people think. You have to work hard and be passionate about what you do. It should never be taken seriously and swell his head as many do. All locations should be done with respect and humor. As my uncle told me a joke one day, we’re just a name in the credits and I found it funny because it’s somewhat true.

Thank you Jean-Philippe