Last Sun brought Etienne Constantinesco out of the shadows. The Strasbourg-based director succeeded in distributing his film via My Digital Company on a dozen of the largest VOD platforms: Amazon Prime Video, Canal +, CVS, Google Play, Orange, Rakuten TV to name a few. However it was not won after difficult years during which he chained the unfinished films, the tests, the experiments and the short films like The Trap. His first feature film Coline (Friends of my friends), released in 2007 mainly on the Internet, yet allowed him to stand out and obtain a small, but promising recognition from critics.
This almost forty-something has always had a camera in hand, a pen to write on and fed off advertising, his job intermittently. Director, producer, screenwriter, but also a film and audiovisual teacher in Aix-en-Provence, the man-orchestra has surrounded himself to produce a poignant, direct, committed cinema that slams and questions. Torn between thriller, fiction and social documentary.
A 100% amateur casting with “workers, rappers or gypsies”
As often, he called on his friends who have been involved in his projects for a long time. But also “cast” people in the street. A non-professional cast and 100% “made in Strasbourg”, the city where he comes from. With “people that you never see in the cinema in this way,” assures the director. Workers, drug addicts, rappers, gypsies, ex-convicts. »All from Strasbourg or the surrounding area, sometimes with a little notoriety like the main character of the film played by Eric Sobkow, better known under the name of the Alsachian, a friend of Etienne Constantinesco. What to give truth to the characters and deliver another look at our society. Like finally a mirror of his cinema, shot without approval, without money (or almost), without an exploitation visa… On the sidelines of the circuit, which is “sometimes badly perceived by certain professionals”, underlines the director.
Wild, he is even in his finances. The 15,000 euros taken out of his pocket not enough to ensure postproduction, he called on crowdfunding and completed the necessary sum, i.e. a total budget of 30,000 euros, which means not much for a feature film.
Experimental cinema sometimes, completely outside the system, the film was shot in two weeks, with a technical team reduced to five people, sometimes with material loaned by Pleine Image. Scenes often shot without authorization but “legally and always being careful not to hurt anyone”, explains Etienne Constantinesco. “And when it was necessary, for example for the scene of a robbery, we asked the mayor of the commune where we were shooting to fire blank bullets and that the police be notified. “
If originally he intended Last Sun at festivals and cinemas that present auteur films, it was the coronavirus crisis that almost turned off the spotlight before the hour by depriving it of dark rooms. It was actually quite a helping hand, or a stroke of fate. A bit visionary, and above all very determined, he quickly contacted the VOD platforms which immediately seized the opportunity to have this type of content. A digital distribution agreement was thus signed with My Digital Company. Enough to ensure much better visibility for Last Sun which will shine on many VOD platforms from this Thursday.