Mélanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins: breathtaking stories

M&élanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins: breathtaking stories


Winners of numerous awards for their films, translated into twenty languages ​​and seen in 200 countries and territories, directors and filmmakers Mélanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins, both biologists by training, have a unique and moving way of tell stories of life. 

“Life does not reside in molecules, but in the bonds that bind them together,” wrote Linus Pauling, an American chemist and physicist, one of the few to have received two Nobel Prizes. 

This sentence, which sets the stage in the film Québékoisie, directed by Mélanie and Olivier, and which deals with the complex relations between Quebecers and Aboriginal people, sums up their work very well.

It actually sums up something like the very essence of this couple, who were destined for biology.

“We are hooked on this quote because our work comes back to it all the time”, explains Olivier, designated artist of the year in the national capital by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2022.

I organized a meeting with Mélanie Carrier after knowing that she was going to Copenhagen, where the mayor of Quebec will go to greet her next week. I finally met the couple, who in 2010 founded Mö Films, an independent production company in Quebec City. 

He loves images, she loves words. Both share this openness and this very human side which allows them to create films whose authenticity and beauty are breathtaking. 

Linked destinies

Mélanie and Olivier met in secondary 2. They were friends for several years before realizing that they had fallen in love. 

“I had gone to Europe and he to Australia, and we realized that we were bored,” she says, her eyes shining.

The couple flew away more later to Reunion Island, as part of university studies in biology. Olivier had brought his camera, bought when he was 19. 

“We filmed to show memories to our parents, and we saw how touched they were by our images. It allowed us to share something, and that's how it all started,” says Mélanie.

After the bachelor's degree, both won scholarships to study for the master's degree. Instead, they decided to go on a climbing trip to Mexico and North America. 

“We dreamed of adventures and great expeditions,” says Mélanie. It was after that we decided to go to Asia.”

Several prizes

Their 8000 km journey by bike, from Mongolia to 'to India, inspired their first film, Asiamut, which has won 35 awards. Mélanie wrote her first book, Cadence, published in 2007.

The couple have since won numerous awards for their productions. To know how many, “we never counted”, replies Mélanie. 

They are particularly proud of the success of the punchy documentary Errance sans retour , which won three Iris awards (best documentary, best editing and best cinematography) and the Canadian Screen award (best documentary in Canada). 

They take a poetic, sensitive and deeply moving look at the tragedy of the Rohingyas. 

These members of the Muslim minority fled Myanmar to take refuge in Bangladesh in what has become, with 700,000 people, the most crowded refugee camp in the world, where they take us.

This is a must see.

From this work, inspired by the work of photographer Renaud Philippe, was also born an exhibition which was presented at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. 

Passage to Denmark

To come back to Denmark, the film Québékoisie will be presented during the Cinemateket, an international documentary film festival. We will also talk about the short film in preparation Shofi, named after the narrator of Errance sans retour, who lives in Quebec after spending 18 years at the camp. < /p>

It will also be an opportunity for Mélanie to talk about their most recent project, At the height of children, in which their two children participate. 

Shot at school and in the daily life of their son Émile for three years, this upcoming documentary will tell the story of the latter's arrival in the school world.&nbsp ;

The project also allowed the two accomplices to fill up on sweetness and light, after the overwhelming Errance sans retour. The excerpts reveal a work that is just as touching, but which transports us elsewhere. 

“We needed this light, this beauty of childhood which is part of life”, confides Mélanie , for whom this “freedom to have light in our lives” has become like a duty, after the incursion into the heart of the Rohingya tragedy. 

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