A graduate from Montreal’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, filmmaker Nicole Doummar oscillates between fiction and documentary. She focuses on the complexity of human relationships, intimacy and the passage of time. Nicole won the Best Film award at the Concordia Film Festival with her first documentary, It Is What It Is.
In September 2023, she boarded the EcoMaris 1 to produce a documentary project whose synopsis goes as follows:
Five short films recounting the intimate, soothing and inspiring experience of a group of women who meet each other - and surpass themselves - in the confines of a sailboat. A journey marked by solidarity, strength and humour, in which the unsaid is said out loud.
To better understand her creative process, our team met with Nicole to ask her a few questions:
- What is the main theme of your project, and how do you approach it?
The main theme is the feminine ‘huis clos’ at the heart of Opportunity Road. This constraint guided my vision. The most important thing for me was to allow participants and crew members to feel as free as possible, and to have an unforgettable experience - thanks to navigation, but also the specifics of an all-female expedition. This distinctive character is what caught my attention. How do we communicate in a single-gender group? What space do we take up, and which do we leave? What do we allow ourselves to say, and how is it received? I wanted to address these questions, but without asking them directly.
That’s why I chose to make myself as invisible as possible, mostly capturing informal and ordinary moments that, though seemingly insignificant, held the essence of bonds that operated on a greater scale.
By stopping my camera at the right moments, I was able to develop trust among participants and crew members. These pauses allowed me to identify what points of view really interested me, and to capture everyday life while leaving enough space to participants, for them to be able to act freely.
I was also interested in the distance that the camera gave me: points of view accessible through a mere reflection or an opened window, which allowed me to witness things without ever interfering. As I was filming, I stayed focused on my desire to draw viewers into the atmosphere that is unique to Opportunity Road - as if they'd been there.
- What aspects of life on board made the biggest impression on you?
I think that what struck me most was how quickly we all adapted to everyday life, and to each other’s presence. We were all concerned about each participant's wellbeing, and I feel that this contributed to a smooth and efficient expedition.
Let yourself be carried away by our participants’ and mentors’ testimonials by watching Nicole’s documentaries right here!