The building is old and the stairs are squeaky. Art is covering every inch of the walls leading up to cinematographer François Desrosiers office in downtown Revelstoke. A photo of a tree with bikes hanging from its branches catches my eye.
A painting on the wall
“It’s more of an art piece, a painting on the wall, than a bike documentary,” explains Desrosiers, head of Revelstoke-based company FD Productions. Desrosiers’ passion shines through his office with so many video cameras from the last century making it resemble a museum.
Full Circle is the result of Desrosiers’ urge to take creative control after, “always doing paid jobs where you are working for somebody else, and all the time wishing you could put together something of your own.”
Watch the trailer for “Full Circle” here
“Everybody is always trying to sell something, I just wanted to make a creative art piece with no agenda,” the cinematographer says.
Desrosiers wanted to give himself a proper challenge: “How can I make this even harder on myself, what if it’s a completely silent film with no talking at all?” The lack of language unlocks the movie’s global potential. “Everyone is going to get something different out of it reflecting how you feel at the time,” Desrosiers says.
Biking: A mental release
Desrosiers’ has been injured for most of his life. “I broke my legs, my arms, my face, my whole body, in an avalanche 20 years ago. Ever since then, I have tried to find ways to remind active and keep chasing adventure. Biking has been a big part of that. I can’t walk very well, but I can mountain bike like a fiend.”
Desrosiers talks about how crucial it has been for his mental health to have a physical outlet. “Biking is a big release for me, especially in this town when it starts getting dark and brutal. I go on midnight rides by myself in lighting storms, headlamp and all, just pushing through.”
The more Desrosiers biked, the more he thought. “[I] wondered in how many other ways people use bikes to maintain a form of sanity.” An idea started forming in his head around characters he knew personally in Revelstoke.
The wheel of emotions
Pieces started falling into place when Desrosiers discovered Dr. Robert Plutchick’s psycho-evloutionary theory ‘The Wheel of Emotions.’
The wheel of emotions consists of eight primary feelings: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation. Bearing similarity to the colour wheel the emotions get stronger closer towards the centre of the wheel. “Every emotion can be mixed with another feeling to create a new emotion,” François explains.
It made a lot of sense to Desrosiers to structure his movie around a theory that “revolves around a wheel” when he “wanted to make a film about biking.”
Care enough to listen
Desrosiers has found characters for his film through caring enough to hear somebody else’s story and forming a connection.
“A lot of the time in today’s world, we don’t take the time to do that.”
Desrosiers’ friend committed suicide two years ago. To this day François struggles with understanding why exactly this happened. “Full Circle” became a reflection of that struggle and the trail of confusion it left behind.
“I’ve been living an emotional life, and I’m learning how to accept my emotions and let them happen,” Desrosiers says. He describes how we are taught to suppress negative emotions.
“People will hug you and say don’t cry, it’s OK. But the more you put those feelings aside, the more they will come back and bite you. You have to give them room,” he said. “That is what’s going to create a healthy environment inside your head. When I’m sad and losing my mind thinking about my buddy, I will go out for a bike ride and let it all out on the trail.”
“Full Circle” shows the beauty that can exist within darker emotions coming from loss, injury, and illness that are not normally broadcasted. “There are ways to embrace it, and turn that sadness into something positive,” Desrosiers says.
For the big screen only
So far, “Full Circle” has only had a few screenings after debuting at Luna Fest in September this year. He hasn’t released the short online, as he doesn’t want it to be just another thing you scroll past on FaceBook. “I have a hard time blasting the film in social media, because I’m not that guy, I don’t love that kind of thing.”
COVID-19 has thrown some obstacles in his way for doing screenings in theatres, but soon there will be a movie night at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. Full circle has also been submitted to network television stations and to film festivals across Canada.
A year of “being super creative and having a lot of fun with no timelines” only using the area around Revelstoke and local residents, has resulted in this timeless film, Desrosiers says.
François feels like “Art is about creating the art, not necessarily when it’s done and it’s hanging up on the wall in a gallery, and everybody is standing around looking at it and analyzing. That’s when the artist shies away and goes back to making more art.”