A dreamer like Julien Guéraud, winner of the II edition of Travel Fest Albania

Originally published at Balkanweb.com

There has always been a dreamer inside him, and despite his dreams being excessive, he would lend an ear to those surrounding him because, as he believed, creating a good film requires patience, a great deal of patience. He was only 15 years old when he embarked on this arduous yet fulfilling journey. Although he possessed a fortunate disposition from birth, boasting a French passport and hailing from the birthplace of cinema, this considerable advantage never hindered him from exploring new territories and encountering new people, including Tirana.

For Julien Guéraud, this is his first visit to Albania, and he promises it will not be his last. He reaffirms this commitment, perhaps because Tirana has provided him with something he had never anticipated: the award for “Best Film” at Travel Fest Albania. Expectations for participating in the festival were minimal. However, this is the beauty of being a director, according to Julien, as it prompts numerous and delightful explorations. The 38-year-old Frenchman competed at TFA with his production “Quest for Silence.”

It is a film that addresses acoustic pollution, a logical concern in its own right. “Unlike many forms of pollution, acoustic pollution is simply invisible. I felt it necessary to give visual representation to this issue, and I could only do so through a powerful story. To engage an emotionally involved audience that will be awakened the next day, this was the only way,” says Julien.

He does not delve into the details. The young director firmly believes that his film effectively conveys its message, even to the most skeptical viewers. Furthermore, Julien does not consider himself an ordinary adult who gets lost in the minutiae, thereby losing sight of the magic within. He states that he remains the same dreamer, albeit in an adult body, fueled by the same dose of creativity.

“As a film director competing in a festival like Travel Fest Albania, your work comes to an end. I would use the parent-child relationship as a comparison. When the child grows up, the parents have nothing left to do but set them free, allowing them to live their life with its mistakes and successes. The same goes for a film,” expresses Julien when referring to the film-audience relationship. “Above all, it is quite interesting to see how people in Albania perceive your film,” he continues.

Nevertheless, the grown-up adventurer tells us that “Quest for Silence” was shot over a 12-day period in various locations in France. It seems he prefers to share the difficulties of the filmmaking process. Julien draws a parallel under his breath. “Creating something like ‘Quest for Silence’ is like climbing a mountain. You never have much money, let alone people around you. It is not easy at all because you practically have to do everything almost by yourself,” says Julien.

There is only one drawback to his five-day journey: he wishes he could have known Tirana better than he had the opportunity to, among fellow foreign colleagues. He hopes to return as a French tourist on his second visit. “Tirana has many beautiful places, and fortunately, some of them, like the amphitheater and the museum, also hosted ‘Quest for Silence.’ I am also surprised by the architectural strength I could perceive, to the extent that I could see vibrations of history on every described street,” Julien states, expressing his desire to explore the capital further, with all it has to offer.

He emphasizes that in Albania, he wishes to be a tourist armed with a GPS that won’t leave him stranded and simultaneously witness how a festival like Travel Fest Albania, with its dedication and love for cinema, attains international recognition.

He has one final message for young individuals who love art, the visual language, and a career behind the camera. “I will tell them the same thing I have been told hundreds of times in my life. You need to be patient. It is a long road, but success awaits you. How far away is it? I cannot tell you that. But I can tell you that along the way, there are countless opportunities to experience powerful and positive emotions,” concludes Julien Guéraud.

Note: On July 7, the competitive journey of 50 foreign authors at Travel Fest Albania came to a close. A total of 22 awards were given for the best film, along with 6 awards for the best photography. Unlike the first edition, the second edition of TFA expanded its reach to not only Tirana but also Durrës and Gjirokastër.