AFI FEST presented by Audi: AFI Alum Zoé Wittock and Noémie Merlant on JUMBO
When the new amusement park “attraction,” The Move It, arrives at the local carnival where she works, Jeanne’s life is forever changed. Forbidden love is not a new theme to cinema, but Jeanne’s love is like no other. With this compassionate and heartfelt retelling of this quirky inspired-by-a-true-story tale, director and AFI alumni Zoé Wittock (AFI Class of 2010) delivers a lyrical and unique film exploring unconventional love.
Actor Noémie Merlant plays Jeanne with sincerity and never lets you feel like she is a punchline in a cosmic joke.
“Even if she is an introvert, she is strong and follows her desire,” said Merlant. “There is no judgement.”
Wittock first learned about people who fall in love with objects and monuments through an article about Erika Eiffel, who married the Eiffel Tower. After reaching out to Erika personally, Wittock’s perspective changed and inspired her to push forward with developing the story. When asked about taking on this challenging subject, Wittock said, “If I, as a person and filmmaker, can go from ‘This is really weird’ to ‘Oh, you know what, I can actually understand where you’re coming from’ and have that journey – if I can bring anyone on that journey with me, that would be something that I would feel very proud about.”
Wittock completed the first draft of the script shortly after graduating from the AFI Conservatory at age 21 and credits the conservatory’s “intense” two-year program for teaching her about story and visual language and how to develop a story – and the importance of collaboration. “You’re making films, talking about films and going to see movies like nonstop. What I learned the most was how to work on a film set, how to collaborate and how you get the best out of your team. As a director you’re responsible for a team,” said Wittock. “At AFI, it was find your vision, find your voice, and find the people who will help you bring it forward.”
And Wittock did just that. JUMBO is a delightful confirmation that love is love, so buckle up and get ready for an enchanting ride.
The screening will be followed by a virtual Q&A with AFI Senior Programmer Claudia Puig, director Zoé Wittock and actress Noémie Merlant. BUY TICKET.
Learn more about the festival here: FEST.AFI.com.