Expat evenings relaunch with documentary

The new film Generation Expat was the highlight of an evening at Royal

Theatre Royal launched a new series of expat meeting nights recently, with the first one focusing on France. Future events will each be centered on different countries.

The highlight of the evening was the screening of the 40-minute documentary Generation Expat (see video below - click for ENG subtitles), just the third time it has been shown on a big screen and the first time outside of Paris. The filmmakers were on hand to answer questions.

The month-old film centers on French expats and their experiences living in countries worldwide.

The film took a year to make, with filming covering three months. Filmmakers Florian Mosca and Laurent Lingelser, who were at Theatre Royal, traveled to nine different countries—Brazil, Peru, Columbia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and New Zealand—and spoke with 14 different French expats who left their life behind in order to start anew and venture across the world. 

The filmmakers said the film was largely created over social media, and filming took place with several cameras including a Canon EC100 and a drone with a GoPro.

Despite the small cameras, the film looks quite professional and has impressive three-dimensional titles. In between scenes, there are quotes from Mark Twain and other famous writers.

Each expat answered a list of 10 questions. Although the film followed French expats who left Europe for more exotic locations, the film documents universal messages that are relatable to any expat who chooses to find a new adventure and live like a local in an unfamiliar country.

The film begins with a fictional narrator whose script was created to reflect a combination of many stories that the two directors were exposed to throughout their journey. The two filmmakers stated that the fictional narration used consists of so many true stories that it could almost be considered true itself; however, the rest of the stories told by the 14 different French expats reflect true accounts about their individual experiences adapting to a new life miles away from their previous ones.

The expats work in a variety of jobs, including selling eyeglass shop, baking, eco-tourism, motorcycles to marketing. The subjects discuss the cultural differences about being on time and so on, as well as the different types of opportunities there are for foreigners. The differences in lifestyles are also covered.

Interestingly, the film incorporated the use of social networking from start to finish. Mosca and Lingelser reviewed hundreds of applicants that they received through a post on Facebook. From this they chose the 14 expats that they eventually interviewed. Ultimately, the two directors pirated their own film, making it available on Youtube for free before a more formal premiere in Paris. There are few opportunities to show a short film, and distributing it over the internet guarantees a good viewership so the sponsors logos will be seen.

As for the Theatre Royal’s series of expat events, there are many more to come. The next event will be in September and the country of choice will be Italy, put on in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Center. Future events will be in cooperation with different cultural centers or chambers of commerce, featuring food, wine and entertainment from the highlighted country.

Video on YouTube

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