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An Interview with Isabel Dréan, Director of Let Go

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2015

Films directed by Isabel Dréan on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Let Go - in a few words, what is it about?


It’s about a family who deal with the death of a child asking the question “How do you keep on living when you lose a child? “


What were your sources of inspiration when dreaming up Let Go - and is any of this based on personal experiences? And to what extent could you identify with the mother in your movie?


Let Go was an artistic exploration for me. Starting from my own life, experience and taking it to 180 degrees to the scariest thing that could ever happento me. At the beginning of the writing process, I couldn’t even write. It scared me. I had to mentally accept that I was stepping into a fictitious world. Very difficult process but as an artist you have to step out of your comfort zone and confront the places you don’t want to go to because of fear or other reasons.


You made Let Go with your own kids playing the children in your movie - what made you choose to do that, and wasn't that emotionally quite draining?


The idea started when my kids asked me to make a film together. It was during Halloween and we thought of doing a horror film. The story evolved a lot from that beginning but my daughter Milan helped me come up with the story.


What can you tell us about the film's "mother" Claudia Ferri, and what made her perfect for the role?


Claudia is a friend of mine and is a well-known actress in Canada. At first, I didn’t think of her for the mother because her casting is mostly very strong, Mediterranean women, very different from the mother in my film. But sometimes life decides who is meant for a role. One day as I’m in a casting meeting, trying to figure out who could play the part, Claudia calls me up, out of the blue. I told her that I had this great part but she would have to change her hair color and it was very different from what she usually plays. She read the script, loved it and accepted to take on this challenge. It’s a very difficult part and I think she did an amazing job in reaching those emotions. Not easy for a mother to play this. I’m so glad she did it. She’s amazing.


Do talk about Let Go's key crew for a bit, and why exactly these people?


Philippe Toupin, the cinematographer is a friend of mine and we wanted to make a film together. Most of the crew and post team were people I worked with on my web series Manigances and have become friends over time.

I love my team and I hope we get to make many more together.


What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


For Let Go, my vision was to start from a pure point of light and end up in a pure point of blackness. Toupin and I shared a lot about the way we wanted to shoot (flowing). I wanted people to feel that it was real. A scripted story in an improvised manner.


Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!


I wanted the kids to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed by the whole movie making process so we bare the crew to the minimum. It was a very small crew (7 including me).

We shot a good amount of days (6 days) for a short of 15 minutes.


A few words about audience and critical reception of Let Go so far?


It’s been really great. I have received multiple emails of people telling me that they cried watching the film. Someone who went through a similar experience, called me to tell me that I totally understood the experience, and that is what makes everything worth while. Catching glimpse of “real life” moments/experiences/emotions on film.

We just won “best short”, “best directing” and “best cinematography” at the LA New Wave International Festival. So that’s cool.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I’ve been in a writing phase lately, since my writing partner and I made it into the quarter finals of the Nicholl Fellowship in the spring with our first script The Wife of Frank B. So we’ve been writing almost non-stop. We are now finishing our 2nd screenplay called Wicca, a teen horror witch tale.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I’ve always dreamed of making movies. I started out as an actress more than twenty years ago but didn’t like to be in front of the camera. I quit acting then went traveling around the world and settled in Laos, Asia for ten years. Then in 2010, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and had to move towards my goal of becoming a filmmaker so moved back to Canada with the family and launch, a web series network and production company. I learned everything by doing it, never had formal training.


Claudia Ferri, Isabel Dréan

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Let Go?


In 2011, we were granted the Independent Production Funds in Canada to produce a webseries called Manigances, a murder mystery. The series was well received with medias and audiences. Turned it into a TV movie, was released on DVD and on a cable. And followed up with Season 2. The series won awards all over the world. Was a great project to start with. I produced, co-directed season 1 and directed season 2.


Do talk about for a bit, and the philosophy behind it!


The idea behind was for people who would want to watch content created in Quebec to find the best series under one roof. We were the first independent site who did that in Montreal.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I think the same as a human being, I like to connect to what’s real. I love what is beautiful even when it’s more difficult to see. I like to tell stories that make the audience work for it.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


I love Roman Polanski, David Fincher, Terrence Malick, Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jones, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and of course Wes Anderson.


Your favourite movies?


Tree of Life, Seven, Bitter Moon, Memento, Fight Club, The City of Lost Children, It’s so hard to pick. There are so many great ones.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Isabel Dréan
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Isabel Dréan here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Isabel Dréan at

I won’t name any because making a movie is an accomplishment in itself but I don’t like movies that insult my intelligence, movies that think the audience is stupid. Those I deplore.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

Twitter & Instagram: @isabeldrean


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


The screenwriter that inspires me: Charlie Kaufmann


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD