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Q&A: Florence Pelletier & Caroline Côté

Florence Pelletier & Caroline Côté co-directed 2021 WMFF feature “Passages.” The story of three women from the North to the South of Quebec embark on a multi-sport expedition following the Koroc river in Nunavik. We asked them a few questions, see our Q&A conversation below:

What is in your gear bag/kit?

We shot ”Passages” with the Sony FS7 Mark II, so we made no concession in term of camera weight, despite the fact that we had to carry all our equipment on our back during the expedition. We chose a Zeiss distagon 28 mm f/2 to have the protagonists as a center of the film and always keep that proximity with them. No drones or go pro for us, we wanted to distance our aesthetic from what we usually see in adventure films, with super wide and saturated images.

What item can you not live without?

Multiples hard drives and memory cards. I am a freak about backing up the footage we get during filming that happen in the outdoors as I am so scared of loosing the shots!

How do you choose music for your films?

I choose to work with composers that understand the tone we want to set for the film. Ilyaa Ghafouri did an amazing job at creating this electroacoustic touching and invested score for ”Passages”.

Most necessary character-quality for a director?

To be open-minded and to be a good team player.

Who has been most influential in your directing career?

Dardenne brothers and Jean-Marc Vallée.

Favorite on-set memory?

Since the filming of ”Passages” was done during an autonomous expedition, we were only eating dry food for 20 days. On day 14, Katrena and Christine, two of our protagonists, caught arctic chars in the Koroc river. It felt like Christmas, and that night we had a feast with the fish they shared with the team.

Craziest on-set/en route to set adventure?

I have seen my first black bear on day 1 of filming. It was both scary and exciting to live this moment only few hours after a small charter plane dropped us in Kuururjuaq national park in Nothern Quebec, Canada.

More About Florence Pelletier

Since 2011, Florence Pelletier has had the chance to write and direct several short films and documentaries that have appeared at festivals in Québec and overseas. In 2013, alongside Juliette Gosselin, Florence co-directed the fiction short film MES ANGES À TÊTE NOIRE, which won the Horizon Award at Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, Florence’s short drama BROMANCE was presented at AirCanada Enroute Festival. Later that year, her short comedy FONDUE CHINOISE brought home ‘Jury Prize’ at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Together with her trail-running partner Caroline Côté, Florence co-directed two short documentaries in 2017. L’AFFRONT DES CIMES tells the story of a Canadian alpinist returning to the mountains after the loss of her close friend during a storm on the peak of Mount Rainier. QAMANIQ follows an all-women trail-running expedition in Nunavik.
TRAVERSÉES is their first feature length documentary.

Caroline Côté is an adventure filmmaker specialized in filming in distant or extreme conditions. She has taken part and documented four major expeditions (XP Antarctik, Pull of the North, Qamaniq, and ÉlectrON), some in as-yet-unexplored regions of the globe, enjoying complete autonomy.
From Antarctica to Yukon, through Alaska and Northern Québec, she returns with tales about nature conservation and learning how to surpass oneself. Caroline is also an ultramarathon runner who loves running in high altitude (85 km, 125 km, or 160 km). Caroline Côté is one of Québec’s great ambassadors in the field of adventure documentary filmmaking, and is well-respected world-wide.