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How a Parisian transplant used Highland Park as the inspiration for her latest film




A screenshot from Lou Dubigeon's
A screenshot from Lou Dubigeon's "The Blank Page," which will be part of the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner this month.
Scott Ray

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People come from all over the world to make it in Hollywood. And Parisian filmmaker Lou Dubigeon is no exception. 

She made her home in Highland Park late last year, and is a student at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus.

Her latest film, "The Blank Page," will be part of the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner this month.

KPCC's Audrey Ngo interviewed Dubigeon to find out how L.A. influences her work.

How she discovered L.A.

I grew up in Paris and came here for the first time on a project. A director I worked for made a feature film in Europe and he came here for post production. This is how I discovered Los Angeles.

It was really great for me. There was always something going on. All the people you met were always part of some new projects and were really excited about it. And I think that's what really made me [fall in] love with the the city.

Filmmaker Lou Dubigeon
Filmmaker Lou Dubigeon
Emma Nobbs

Paris vs. L.A. filmmaking culture

In Paris, everyone kind of looks at you with some distance--looking at who is doing well or not. It's kind of a weird environment. When here, I feel there's a way more supportive environment. If you have a project, people are going to be like, "Yes, do it!" It doesn't matter if you don't have a budget, just live it!

"The Blank Page"

This film is very self-inspired. I hadn't had time to write for a long time, and Thanksgiving was my one day off.

Inspiration doesn't come with orders. So, I woke up at 6 a.m., sat at my desk, and stayed there for 12 hours. Nothing was coming through. When I was talking to other people about it, they were all like, "Oh, I know what you went through." Because every single person who is an artist has gone through having to fight "the blank page." 

I thought this is a very beautiful subject. And I wanted to tackle it in a quirky, funny, lighthearted way.

TRAILER FOR THE BLANK PAGE from Lou Dubigeon on Vimeo.

Highland Park film inspiration

The way I was picturing it was very colorful. And I thought, well, I live [in Highland Park], and I see these colors every day and I can't think of a better place to shoot. Paris is very beautiful, but there's a lot of regulations. And here [in L.A.], it's amazing. You find so many colors. 

One of my favorite colors in movies is blue. And it's incredible, the number of blue houses here. I thought I needed to scout [locations], but it actually ended up being really easy because there's so many locations here in Highland Park that have these bright beautiful colors.

This mural of Jesus is actually on my street. And I can't help but look at every single day, because it's just so present. 

A screenshot of Lou Dubigeon's latest film,
A screenshot of Lou Dubigeon's latest film, "The Blank Page," shot in Highland Park, which will be part of the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner this month.
Scott Ray

I was thinking of my character. And in the story, there's this moment where she's really desperate...and [I wanted to] have her walk past Jesus and just stop and look at him like, "I'm lost."

On women filmmakers in Hollywood

Things are definitely changing. I think the main problem is that, for so long, there were way less [women filmmakers] and there are a lot of women who still lack that confidence and don't think people will believe in them....This is the main thing that we need to fight.

What she wants her audience to know

For artists, "The Blank Page" is our problem as a community. So, don't freak out. Just keep doing it.

*This interview was edited for clarity.