Leo Pons, a filmmaker from France, is well known for his short films putting his local region of Cantal in the spotlight. His short films have gotten many views on YouTube, and have brought entertainment to people from all over the world. Leo agreed to sit down with me and answer a few questions about his films, and why he likes to incorporate Cantal into them.
What gave you the idea to make parodies of well-known films using Cantal scenery as the background?
I was born in Cantal. And I am proud to be Cantalien and to be an ambassador of this beautiful department. The first time I saw the Lord of the rings, I thought that the landscapes of the saga (shot in New Zealand) and the landscapes of Cantal looked very similar. Hence the idea of making an adaptation of the Lord of the rings in the Cantal. It worked well, and the Cantaliens loved it. That's why I wanted to continue making parodies of movies or ads while promoting the Cantal, like "Cantal, What Else?" a parody of the European famous TV spot with George Clooney.
How has that helped Cantal in the long run?
The videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on the web. That is as many views for the Cantal and its landscapes. Also, press coverages have been very numerous. It positively highlighted the department in the national and international press. I am sure that this can change the image of the Cantal and attract more tourists.
Tell us a little bit more about your film, Le Hobbit : Le retour du roi du Cantal
The film is an adaptation of the famous trilogies of the Lord of the rings and the Hobbit by Peter Jackson. It is shot entirely in Cantal, with local actors, as well as some professionals from Paris. In addition, almost all the voice actors who dubbed the dialogues for the french versions of the Lord of the rings and the Hobbit (about 20 of them) agreed to participate in the projects and lent their voices to the actors of the Cantalien version. Part of the budget is funded by the Conseil Départemental du Cantal (the departmental board of Cantal).
What is your favorite part about using Cantal in your short films?
Shooting in the Cantal! It's a real opportunity, because it's a beautiful and multifaceted department. What's more, the residents are always happy to make appearances or play in the movies and that is exceptional!
What projects will you be working on in the near future?
Today, I intend to continue my studies, while shooting promotional or documentary ads for my clients, as I kept my film production company still active. I just recently uploaded my new short film « Chut ! » ("Hush!") which is about domestic violence. And of course, I'm still coming up with other film ideas to highlight the Cantal.