An unconventional look at current life in the City of Light, Some Other Paris
examines everything from the Yellow Vest protests to the Parisian art scene through the eyes of expats, immigrants and French citizens. The documentary takes viewers far beyond the Eiffel Tower, past the fancy fashion houses and the haute cuisine. It is an immersive journey through the Paris of artists and intellectuals; inhabitants of a densely populated, expensive city, dodging around the cost of living, tightly packed public transportation, pollution and dog poop on the sidewalk.
Directed by James H. Jewell III and executive produced by Kara Jewell, this
documentary film features twenty interviews with artists, musicians, poets,
novelists, playwrights, radio personalities, a journalist, a real estate broker, a gamer, a charity worker, a costume designer/refugee worker, a sign language tour guide, and a rabbi. Residing in Paris is perhaps the only common denominator this diverse cast of characters share. They recount love stories and administrative nightmares, creating an honest mosaic that depicts daily life in the most romanticized city on Earth.
James and Kara wanted this film to be an exploration, and were willing to go wherever the journey took them. The interviews they filmed became deep and revealing discussions about the trials of living in modern-day Paris.
The film’s charm is augmented by the director’s not-so-behind-the-scenes presence. Asking questions on camera, chatting with the interviewees and composing most of the soundtrack himself, his ingenious style brings a special warmth to the viewing experience.
Here is a trailer :
ABOUT THE FILM
Some Other Paris is an attempt to capture an unconventional side of the City of Light.
Kara and James Jewell planned to move to Paris for just a few months in 2010 but ended up living here for over 8 years. This documentary mirrors experience: Kara had wanted to film a documentary about the expat community and beyond for many years.
They reached out to many of their Parisian friends for interviews, as well as some acquaintances they had crossed paths with over the years.
Adding some lavalier microphones and a few other odds and ends missing from their original kit, they filmed with the help of Peter Brown and Nia Cason on secondary cameras. In January and February 2019, they filmed over 20 interviews and events.
Paris has a well-earned mystique when it comes to art, writing, music and creativity in general. There is an appreciation for the arts within the everyday. James and Kara met many people who managed to live relatively well simply by playing music on the streets for tips. There are laws which protect artists’ incomes. France has been generous to artists in many ways not found in their native United States. The French bureaucratic process, however, can sometimes be a maze and a great burden. Despite this, the cost of living in Paris remains extreme for many — especially those with families. It is one of the most densely populated cities in the Western world and harbors intense situations, including tightly packed public transportation, traffic, noise, and pollution.
The set of questions for the interviewees was a loose guideline. During those two months, there were other, unforeseen activities happening that were eventually included, from protests to theatre productions. There was no strict idea of what the film would be; the entire process was an exploration. It was a blank canvas the team filled in every day with images and conversations that were then woven together like a serendipitous tapestry. The main thread running through the documentary is the question, “Why would someone want to live in Paris?”
“This is a different slice of Paris that we experienced and are thrilled to show those who take the time to watch. It is an understatement to say how grateful we are to have lived in Paris, but much more so our gratefulness is to the dear friends that we made and those who generously contributed to this project.
I think a large reason we embarked on this project was to answer that question for ourselves and to learn from all those we encountered. Why Paris? The answer is not a simple one, but for sure the most important ingredient of Paris and of any city is not the city itself, it is not the buildings or the artwork or the food. It is the people; it is the diversity that makes the experience of the city a unique one. Kara and I are very grateful for the opportunity we had produce this documentary. In many ways, it is a thank you to the city of Paris, to all of our friends there and all those that make it an amazing place.” – James and Kara Jewell
SOME OTHER PARIS (100 mins) has been streaming on YOUTUBE since June 18th. WATCH HERE.