A shooting by instinct
"we all have a childhood dream"
I've always been fascinated by images, editing, telling a story.
Since I was a teenager, I had the idea of making a feature film, but as I didn't have the budget, the idea was put aside for a while.
And then, there was an encounter...
The birth of the project
I met Axel at the beginning of 2017, during a day of drifting on a circuit.
I was quickly drawn into the character.
Later, we met at Axel's place, who explained to me that he was taking part in the French drift championship that year.
He needed images for his communication via social networks, I needed a story and a hero for my film.
So we went with this idea of following his journey through the 2017 season.
Project launch and first difficulties
In the first race of the championship, there was a problem that I didn't foresee.
During one round, Axel was busy with the competition, so there was no time to make specific scenes.
I quickly realized that it would be impossible for me to do the scenes I had thought of for the film.
Now I had to do without a script, while remaining focused on the race.
On the evening of the first day, I had to face the facts: the project could never come close to what I imagined...
So what to do?
Give it all up?
To continue anyway, without knowing what the story was going to tell?
Would it be interesting?
How could I then create the narrative from that?
That evening, I asked myself a thousand questions...
Then I realized how much work it would take, not really knowing if it was worth it, if the story would be up to par and if I could do something with it...
I decided to give up the idea of making a film about it.
The next day, the competition continued, and as I continued filming, something happened that I was not prepared for.
Axel reached the final and there was a controversy following the battle with the defending champion.
The judges decided, according to the current rules, that Axel had committed a fault.
I felt a strong attraction of the public for Axel, and a feeling of injustice for a judgment in favor of the former champion.
This was a real blow for the pilot, but also for many spectators who defended Axel on this decision of the judges...
On the way back, I realized that the story was writing itself... the only thing I had to do was to capture it.
I finally decided to continue the adventure with him, and to trust my initial intuition.
A glimmer of hope
It was really during the second round of the French championship that I understood that something interesting was happening in Axel's course.
Continuing to win, sometimes even against drivers much more experienced than him, he reached the final once again, falling again to the driver of the previous round.
His rivalry with the former champion on this round took an unexpected turn, with Axel's action in the unthinkable semi-final.
A scene of rare intensity. Axel was excluded from the French drifting championship.
Little by little, the plot was unfolding, and already I was imagining how I could write the story through interviews later, retracing the highlights of the pilot's rise.
Towards the ascent
Although excluded from the French championship rounds, Axel did not let himself be discouraged, and decided to join another championship during the season.
His route passed through Europe, Japan, France, again...
I decided to follow him until the end of his 2017 season, to live and broadcast the year he became the popular driver he is today.
It was an incredible adventure, exciting, difficult at times, but particularly formative.
Today, I still wonder how, on a simple intuition, I could have accompanied the launch of the pilot who would later become the hope of French drifting throughout the world.
Thank you to him for trusting me, for believing in this project, and for allowing it to reach its conclusion.