Emmanuel Itier is a French born film producer and director, a music journalist and composer, and a man who is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of a peaceful and just world. His documentaries, The Invocation (featuring Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra and other other spiritual luminaries, discussing the nature of the Divine), and more recently, Femme (featuring Sharon Stone, Dr. Jean Houston, Marianne Williamson, Gloria Steinem and many other renowned women from around the world, who are actively transforming and healing global society), are a far cry from his earlier work making horror films. This fascinating three part interview, speaks of a profound change of direction for a complex man, determined to change the world, one film at a time.
This is my exclusive interview with Emmanue Itier Part 1 of a 3.
As the Director and Co-Producer of "FEMME', a powerful documentary about the lives of women,mand the importance of enhancing their role in a male dominated world, I'd like to start by asking you to share something of your early life, especially in relation to the women that you grew up around?
Lots of people, both women and men, are surprised that a guy is behind FEMME, as a Director and a Producer. Indeed, being the 'creator' of such an inspiring and transformative pictures can appear strange, since I'm also your typical macho male, who was raised like most men, and told he had to dominate, conquer, and take without putting too much feeling in it, too much compassion or love. Most men are raised as such, to be way too cold and way too dominate, and it's really hard to find your inner voice and realize that actually, like women, you are made to love and not to fight, you are made for Life and not for Death. But society and education still try to make us believe that we men are from Mars, and you women are from Venus; That we men belong on the war field and you women belong in the kitchen. It's a such BS, and I was lucky in a way, to be raised in a family that didn't enforce too hard, this ultra macho dominant raping vision of the world. My parents were a doctor for my dad, in the french navy at first, and my mother, a french and history teacher. We travelled in many parts of the world when I was young, because of the enrollment of my dad in the French Navy. This was pure luck, because this way I was exposed to other cultures, religions, other foods, other races. I think that from that moment (though I would end up keeping my little french accent), that I felt I was a citizen of the Planet, and not only from France or then from America, since I landed here in the USA some 25 years ago. Like many men, my relationship with women came in my mid teens, when I started to have a few girlfriends. I was pretty bad at it, but I think that with practice and recognizing your mistakes, you eventually get better at being a decent boyfriend. Then I really fell for an American woman on a plane, a flight attendant, during a vacation to the US, and we ended up being married a year later. I was 21 and she was 10 years older than I. For sure, this type of relationship forces you to mature quite quickly. You have to adapt and evolve if you want your 'older' partner to appreciate you. Also, not speaking english well was an added challenge, as I truly didn't really understand my wife! But here is my point of view on relationship and how eventually you can make it, if not for a while (I ended up divorcing her after 10 years), for life. For me, a solid relationship with a spouse is all about the complementary and harmony of 3 circles of relationship in a perfect partnership. A circle, because what goes around must come around and circulate with fluidity in a partnership, and the two partners need to come to harmony and complementarity:
1. Circle of the Soul: it's the partnership of the mind, the exchange we are doing with our partner on an intellectual, emotional, spiritual, soul level. Usually within 5 to 10 minutes of speaking with someone we "feel" and "get" them, and we can see if they stimulate our mind, our soul or not, and vice versa. Of course, two partners need to work at it to keep the harmony going, and that communication is key to keeping the flow going.
2. Circle of the Body: it's the partnership of the bodies, the energies on a physical level. Not only the sexual relationship, but more the comfort we get from being with someone: just by hugging him/her, just by being close to her/him. Some energies just get along well and some don't. We all have a specific energy resonance, and some are complementary to another's and some are not. Again, the two partners have to work at it, and keep the stimulation and excitation going.
3. Circle of Fate and Destiny: The Fate is what you're born with. This beautiful game of cards given to you: your sex, your place of birth, your race, your intelligence, your religion, your culture and on. Destiny is what you make of your Fate, the choices you make, the paths you take. Two partners have two different fates and destinies, and the trick here is to find a perfect complementarity and harmony between those. You need intertwinement of the fates and destinies of the two partners. And sometime it just won't work, because we cannot totally change each other and go against our own instinct of what is truly good for ourselves. So it's hard to find a partner whose fate and destiny would fit ours, and we can't truly change this. At one point it will break, if there isn't a perfect harmony and complementarity. I feel two partners can always work on the two first circles and find a 'healthy compromise', but with the third circle it's purely a 'miracle' if it works out. because we are who we are and do what we do and cannot totally change, we can adapt, compromise and make sacrifices to a certain point but we can't deny nor run away from our Destiny.
Needless to say, I developed this theory about relationship after many, many girlfriends, in between marriages...as I got remarried to another woman, Roxanna Bina, some 12 years ago, and we have now 3 beautiful boys, Felix, Max and Rex. I think I have become a better husband and a better man, by going through that path of self discovery and putting in practice what I would learn along the way. FEMME was born out of these years of thinking about and being with women, and realizing how much we men owe them, since not only they give us birth and raise us, but also truly give a meaning to our lives. Truly a man who thinks his meaning is only about making money and accumulating material wealth is missing totally the point. The reason we are doing what we do, we men, is because we are seeking the appreciation and love of the women, and we hope one day to hear one say to us: I Love you.
Until the making of 'Invocation', you were best known to many as a director and producer of horror films. I read somewhere that with the birth of your first child, your outlook on the world and the future changed dramatically. Can you talk about how that felt, and how it then led to your own rebirth as a documentary
Good question, indeed, as family dynamics do change so much our destiny. Indeed, until I was blessed enough to father a first child at age 38, I had not totally planned to direct documentaries, and especially not one as ambitious as The Invocation, an exploration of the notion of GOD and a call for World Peace. It has quite a number of important visionaries such as Deepak Chopra, The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Karen Armstrong and so many others. It is right to say something was 'triggered' when my son Felix was born, and I realized I just couldn't continue with making pointless entertainment. I mean, I could, but I truly didn't want to. There was an urge to express some deep political and philosophical thoughts about myself and how I could be an agent of change in this world. I think we all want to change the world in some ways, and hopefully it's for the better. Documentaries do give you a voice at doing so, because you can really pick up a deep subject and embark onto an inspiring and transformative journey. So this is what happened, and this is how I decided I was going to do a movie about the notion of Oneness, whether you call it God, nothing or everything, or energies, or the Big Architect. Doing so, this has triggered another urge at doing it again and again. This is why I jumped onto FEMME, because while shooting The Invocation, I realized that the true un-balance between the Feminine and the Masculine was the deep cause of our miseries, and I wanted to explore a solution to bring back such a balance. With all of the many awards and successes we are getting for both movies, The Invocation and Femme, for sure it feels good in a selfish way, feeding the ego of Emmanuel, but not the Action of Emmanuel, which means 'God among us'. I think that I'm proud of what we achieved, but at the same time we have not yet had the impact I wished we had with changing the behavior we look at each other, act with each other. The way these films changed me is making me a deeper and more engaged Peace Activist. I just won't rest until every child is fed on this planet, until every woman is free to choose the life she wants for herself, until every human being has a fair shot at a job to feed himself/herself and feed his/her family! Yes, I know it's kind of a "Jesus Christ complex" but what is the big deal about it, we should all feel compelled to act as Jesus, or The Buddha or Muhammad or JFK, and do help Do save the World! You just won't be happy until everyone is happy and safe! I know I won't!
You've also said that at the moment you had the inspiration for a movie about God, that you felt that 'this
film was going to be my own salvation.' In what ways do you feel now that the film has changed your life?
I think that I had reached a point where I was so sure about my impact as a filmmaker, especially doing low budget horror and erotic thriller pictures (ha-ha!). On top of this I was deeply concerned and worried about our planet, our future as a Humanity. I was going, therefore, through some sort of deep depression and it was a very tough time, with lots of anguish. Doing these movies, The Invocation and Femme gave me back my taste to life, my faith in Life! I think somewhere these movies truly saved me from myself. It was some sort of exorcism, filming all around the world and meeting these inspiring souls. It was the best therapy I could have ever followed. And truly I encourage everyone to reach out for their dreams and just do it, if not you might live a life of regrets and depression.
You've said that Sharon Stone liked the concept you presented for 'Invocation', but was hesitant to be involved until she actually saw the footage nearly completed, and was so moved by what she saw, that she immediately came on board, with no guarantee of being paid?
It took me I think five years to convince Sharon to come on board and become my producing partner! I was like a mad french bulldog, going back to her over and over with new cuts of the movie, new visions, new names in the film. I think that she was so right to have, at first, make me realize I didn't have a solid film, that it needed so much work. It did! It was all over the place and totally naked. So, with her advice, and her invitation to keep trying to convince her, I went back and re-edited this film at least 50 times, before she finally came to me and said: "This is simply the best movie I have seen on this subject matter: God. You have totally nailed it, and I would be so proud to be your narrator and help you. Everyone should see this film, and this film should be even seen by the President and be at the Smithonian institute." Truly I was in tears of joy, but I had to tell her I had no money left for her, to cover her time to do the narration, to which she replied: "I don't need your money. I want to be a partner, make me a partner, and I'd love also to be a writer for the narration". And she indeed came on board, with only the promise of a back end from the profits! She came into the studio in Burbank one day, and spent a few long hours with me recording the narration, but also re-writing a few key sentences for this narration. She came up with the final quote: "We need to Become Peace in Action!". I think this is so beautiful, because it sums up so perfectly the movie and its' message. I think more than ever, that we need to stop talking, and finally Act! Act on our thoughts and words! We need to become the savior of each other, and not wait anymore to be saved. See how, when I became Peace in Action, I got Sharon Stone and completed quite an inspiring and transformative movie, that has been released in almost half of the planet, and has been seen by millions of people.
Watch FEMME now on the official website: https://femmethemovie.com
Article by Radhaa Nilia
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