This exclusive interview with Karim Zeriahen was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Paris during May 2011
Interview with Karim Zeriahen
What inspired you to be a filmmaker?
I used to be an ice skater for many years in the french team and I guess having my eyes open when I was skating were my first introduction to moving images.
It felt like a perpetual travelling. I guess when a few years later I was given a camera to shoot a dance piece by Philippe Decouflé, it felt quite natural for me to focus on movement and body language.
But my inspiration as a documentary film maker, i guess, came from a movie by Ken Loach: " Raining stones ". It was the first time I could sense humanity and emotions that strong in a character.
I was then drawn to filming people and specially people with a certain age that could tell stories and share experiences.
You can interview one person of the past who would it be? And why?
There are so many including Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde, Sigmund Freund but my dream would be to interview Ralph Waldo Emerson.
One of his texts on nature is an endless source of inspiration to me. It opened my eyes on the depths and the beauty of human nature. Something I really think about when I am shooting my video portraits.
How do you approach each new project?
Each project is so different that the form , the research and the making is driven by the subject itself.
Usually, I read and watch all I can about the subject, then I escape from where I live to a neutral place and write the project. I need to be alone in a place that I don't know. I need to feel like a stranger so I can face the unknown. Hotel rooms are very convenient, you can make research online, lie down on the bed, take a walk, go to a museum and come back and do some more writing. The film will be tainted by the atmosphere of the place you are in.
How do you describe your style?
Hard question but I would say my interests are human encounters and body language combined with a real pleasure in editing room trying to create some sort of choreography with bits of rushes and music.
If you weren’t a filmmaker what would you be doing?
I would probably be a therapist...
The above interview with Karim Zeriahen 2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.