Ann-Julie Vervaeke (30), director, Ghent
Ann-Julie is a director. The type that works on thorough and steadily. She already launched her short film, Le Pli Dans L'Espace, and is working on her first feature film: Waterwolf. We interviewd her in July 2017 in her apartment in Ghent.
When she thinks about her dream, she doesn’t have to think long. “At this moment? Make a good movie. I’ve been working on this so long.” Long, that’s since the summer of 2015. Filming is sheduled for the summer of 2019. The movie is her own adaptation of ‘De kinderen van Calais’, the debute of writer Lara Taveirne. “I’m very grateful that I can make this movie, that this is what I’m doing every day. But often it’s also hard. To be constantely digging for deep emoties, to question yourself every day. Everything becomes psychology. Sometimes it’s hard to make a distinction between myself and my work. Constantely wondering ‘Why am I doing this?’ and ‘Is anyone going to watch it?’. Ann-Julie is a sensitive person and knows exactely what she wants to say. Yet she choses her words very carefully. “A coming of age movie about two girls isn’t new, I think. But the longer I’m working on this project, the more I realize that there isn’t much variation on how women and girls are portretted in film and photography. Especially not in mainstream material. Why is a men’s nipple tolerated and a girls not? Or what about Instagram where a blood stain on sweatpaints is seen as disgusted… Unless something is extreme, it’s not accepted. While it’s just part of our daily life. I wanna show normal bodies, with or without breast, without sexualising them. It feels good to me.”
“I’m doing something that is a bit important. That has meaning and is on top of that enriching for myself.” In front and behind the camera, she means. “Sofia Coppola is the second woman ever who won The Golden Palm in Cannes. I was indignant when I read that. There are a lot of things that need to change. I’m a woman, and I can be. I’m thirthy. I want to be a mom and make movies. I believe both are possible, but the feeling will stick: ‘Am I abandoning my child? Is it inherent for our sexe or are we talked into that guilt? You have to think about that, but it can’t take you hostage."
"We’re all so consumed by what other people think of us. That’s exhausting. I’ve learned to let that go. Which doesn't make anyone any happier. When I was 18 I thought feminism wasn’t necessairy anymore. I’m free and I can do whatever I want. When the years got by you realize it isn’t so. There’s an imbalance between the sexes. But it’s going the right way. I’m hopeful for the the future.”