This project started with a desire to connect photography, stories and still images. A rather small-scale adventure at the beginning, with the goal of creating a DVD/book, as I had acquired a substantial archive of animal photos during my six previous journeys to Tibet. I had discovered Marie Amiguet in La Vallée des loups, liked her approach, her gaze, and I wanted someone who would films us up close with Sylvain Tesson, in a way that was discreet enough to capture the most sincere emotions. I had already made documentaries earlier and I couldn’t stand the staged aspect, so we decided to shoot in the most natural way possible. Little by little, given what Marie was filming, we decided to try for a more ambitious film. Marie took charge of the editing. Two years of work to bring this film to what it is today.
The dialogues were not written. We didn’t know Sylvain, I didn’t dare film him because I admire him a lot and was almost uncomfortable placing my camera between them. I went at their rhythm, never faster. I had a small handheld camera with a single lens… It was necessary to extract the substantive marrow from all of these spontaneous moments to say something that would fit our values, would fit with what was in our hearts. We had to sort through what pertained to adventure, philosophical reflection and what we wanted to talk about as activists. This explains why the editing was so hard, torturous even.
We are not actors and Marie managed to capture emotions, especially at the end. Nothing is overdone because, like the leopard, she managed to fit into the landscape, almost hiding herself. There was nonetheless some real tension when we’re down there with difficult conditions and we didn’t change our behaviour for the film. She was able to capture who we really are.