By Ray Pride

Denis Côté

“I saw Dario Argento’s films that were much more artistic. And when I was around fifteen or sixteen, I considered making films. At eighteen I went to college but had no friends there, because it was very far. All I could do then was to concentrate on cinema. My teacher was my best friend and we had a list of films we had to watch. Pasolini, Godard, Fassbinder, Cassavetes, Pialat, Zulawski. I was amazed and it was obvious I wanted to be a filmmaker. I never went to university after that, never been to film school. I was more of a rocker, I had very long hair and organized concerts, but was always at the local cinémathèque, watching three, four films a day, and losing girlfriends because of cinema… I was too passionate. One day I was asked if I wanted to talk about cinema on the radio… for free! I did that for four years and then they asked me if I’d like to write for a newspaper. I was twenty-four and had never touched a computer. It was 1999! They said, “Don’t make us laugh. Go see that film and tomorrow morning bring us back a diskette with the text.” I borrowed a computer from my friend who told me how to use it. I wrote my review and they said, “Very nice. Be back next week. We will give you your desk and computer and will hire. You are our film editor.” It was a small newspaper but had good readership. I would write a full page on an Abbas Kiarostami retrospective and then two or three lines on Spider-man. That is how I made my reputation as a film critic. In 2005, I made my first film, Drifting States. I really didn’t know what I was making. When it was finished, I watched it with my editor and we thought, “Is it a fiction, is it a documentary, what is it?” It was really exciting! Then I heard that Locarno Film Festival was interested in the film. I was like, “What is Locarno?” We sent the film and won the main award in the video competition. That was the beginning of my career. After that I made a film every year.
Denis Côté


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