When it Comes to Films, Jérémie Boucher and Gabriel Savignac Are Truly INSEPARABLE
At mid-interview, producer Jérémie Boucher and director Gabriel Savignac laughingly admit they’re often compared to a two-headed monster. A few minutes later, they blurt out that they even feel like Power Rangers, more powerful than ever when teamed up. Certainly, there’s no doubt that the couple behind Inseparable Films is a creative force to be reckoned with.
Both in their early thirties, they already have the short Ma lionne, which has been making the rounds at major festivals, the short Stay, I don’t want to be alone, a 2017 TIFF selection, and Nichole, a series streaming on Télé-Québec in fall 2022, under their belts.
How do you pick your projects?
Gabriel – Until just recently, we were always working on my ideas, but the more our production company grows, the more interest we get from artists wanting to work with us.
Jérémie – Because Gabriel is the man I love, I naturally want his projects to succeed above all. And while I do love to produce, what I love the most is helping him to fulfill his dreams each and every day. In a sense, his conceptions become my babies.
Gabriel – Of course it helps that we’re on the same wavelength. We share the same tastes, the same sensibilities, love the same movies, and react to the same situations when watching any show.
Jérémie – I never feel anything less than he does when working on his projects. The subjects that Gabriel finds challenging are similar to ones that challenge me as well. He’s always drawn to the marginalized or more vulnerable and to showcasing how their differences are in fact their strength. He’s not someone who talks loud and takes up a lot of space, just a few of the many reasons why he’s so special to me.
What came first: working together or falling in love?
Jérémie – More like a friendship at first. We met in college (CEGEP) in 2008 and became very good friends.
Gabriel – The friendship intensified very quickly since we had so much in common personally and artistically.
Jérémie – We kind of lost touch when I enrolled in the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS), but we reconnected as friends in 2010. Towards the end of 2015 we started working together and that’s when the friendship blossomed into a love relationship.
Gabriel – A few years after Jérémie had completed his theatrical production studies he offered to produce my graduation film project at Concordia.
Why did you wait all these years to finally be in a relationship together?
Gabriel – At the time, I was afraid of risking our friendship by getting romantically involved. Being young and adventuresome, I had had a few fleeting relationships and I didn’t want to lose Jérémie the same way. So, I purposely fought off the idea of thinking about him in that regard.
Jérémie – By the time I offered to produce Gabriel’s film, we were already living together. I came from a stage performance-oriented background, but I was curious about film and TV, because I had done some as an actor when I was younger.
Would you have even tried something there if it hadn’t been for Gabriel’s project?
Jérémie – The performing arts scene was booming when I completed my NTS studies, and I could really see making my mark in that milieu. It is in fact quite rare for someone in production to go from the stage to the screen. So, it’s fair to say that if Gabriel hadn’t moved up in film, that door of opportunity would never have been opened for me.
Gabriel – I’m going to put a qualifier on that because your parents told me about your precocious interest in movies. You were a big fan of niche, off-the-wall films at a very early age.
Jérémie – True enough. I even created a drive-in movie theatre in my backyard. All the same, I did change my focus to the performing arts.
Gabriel – When I started studying film, you had more than a passing interest in what I was doing. I shared my doubts and concerns with you. You experienced the ups and downs in my projects. You really got involved. It’s obvious that we complemented each other. It’s only natural that we would collaborate when my studies were over.
Did you have concerns about mixing your creative relationship with your romantic one?
Gabriel – Not a one. We’re so much in tune with each other that I don’t think of us as a two-person project. Just recently, we started working with other artists and I’m only now beginning to understand the concept of collaboration. When Jérémie and I work together, we really are one of a kind, so to speak. I guess that’s why people started calling us the two-headed monster. Heh, we are what we are.
Jérémie – We built our frames of reference and our vision together, and to top it off, we had the same teachers in CEGEP. Whenever Gabriel says something, our colleagues know I’d say the same thing. The message is always on the same frequency and always on the double.
Gabriel – I sometimes worry that it might be intimidating to some people. It’s very important that other creators understand that we are very open to discussion after all.
Jérémie – I really do hope that people see us as two friendly, non-threatening regular guys. In any dialogue, we may appear as two against one, but we are still listening with an open mind.
What would you say your respective strengths are?
Gabriel – While we do have similar interests our skill sets are very different. But it’s synergy when we’re together. Like Power Rangers we are greater than the sum of our parts.
Jérémie – I look after production, budgeting, organization, efficiency, and am always in solution mode. I’ve got a pretty good handle on funding, policies, and the intricacies of applying for support. This gives Gabriel time to do his thing, and that’s a good thing because his job is coming up with the creative ideas.
Gabriel – I bring a certain sensitivity to the table about our work and our company. Being efficient and seizing opportunities are important, but it’s important for me that everything is done with a certain degree of compassion, both in the subjects we select and in our dealings with others. As a writer-director, I bring ideas to the surface, ideas we challenge together until they become our ideas.
Jérémie – I own a theatre company (La messe basse) with Maxime Carbonneau and Dany Boudreault, and I’m executive director of the Compagnie de danse Marie Chouinard, so I’m often pulled in all directions and always with plenty on my plate. Gabriel dedicates himself entirely to film projects, his own and those of others. So, even though I’m very organized, he can stop me in my tracks by suggesting we take an hour or two to enter some invoices into the accounting software on the weekend.
How do you share your responsibilities?
Jérémie – I read and comment on every line in every script while Gabriel goes over every budget with a fine-tooth comb. Overseeing all operations is a joint effort.
Gabriel – The raw honesty that characterizes the opinions we share makes for very effective communications. We really tell it like it is.
Jérémie – We know each other so well that if there’s any problem, he doesn’t even have to tell me how he feels. I know and I’m already looking for a solution.
When meeting with funding institutions or broadcasters, do you feel stronger if you go together?
Gabriel – I’m really lucky to have my producer with me 24/7 whenever we have to pitch, to brief me, to test me, to correct me, and to make sure that we deliver it pitch-perfect.
Jérémie – We practice and prepare until bath time. That’s where we draw the line.
Gabriel – It’s not always easy when your workday goes way beyond 9 to 5. Discussions on projects and the search for ideas continues even at bedtime. Our work is so exciting and so much a part of our world that it’s hard to stop talking about it. We often get so wrapped up in discussing upcoming films in restaurants, that we have to remind ourselves to eat! It’s almost impossible to unplug.
Jérémie – Our workload was so demanding by summer 2021, we couldn’t take time off for a vacation. I set limits this year so we could. But since we had a super important project to hand in by the end of August, we had to find a way to do both. When we travelled, we put in three hours of writing after breakfast. Then we headed to the beach. We just couldn’t see ourselves enjoying the sun and sand with that deadline looming over us.
What have you got in the pipeline?
Gabriel and Jérémie – We’re working on a film based on Simon Boulerice’s book Le premier qui rira. We’re developing a webseries with author Louis-Philippe Vachon. A short about the world of men’s gymnastics in Quebec. And, on a more personal note, we’re in the process of adopting a baby.