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Documenting a haunting city: 'Las Vegas Meditation'

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – All week, the News1130 Evening Show is featuring some of the films playing at this year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver.

Today, we’re looking at a film that takes viewers through the streets of Las Vegas, one of the most deserted cities in America, thanks to the crash of 2008. The film maker, Florent Tillon, tells News1130’s Ben Wilson, he wanted to compare and contrast the desert city with that of another desolate area, Detroit and to understand the desert city’s pop-culture.

BEN WILSON – Tonight we’re joined by Florent Tillon — the director of “Las Vegas Meditation.” Thank you for joining us all the way from Paris. Can you tell us about the movie?

FLORENT TILLON – I wanted to make it a portrayal of a city which was a fool city, in opposite to Detroit, which was an empty city, so I wanted to have to extreme sides of America about these kind of cities. There were similar things in both cities, so that’s where the origin of the project came. But when i discovered this culture that was there, and because of course, several things and problems around the city, but when I discovered pop-culture apocalypse, that was the final line up for my story for the film. I was trying to discover the pop-culture there.

BEN WILSON – Las Vegas has the highest suicide rate in the US and took a big hit when the recession, just how hard did the ’08 recession hit Sin City?

FLORENT TILLON – Actually it was not, it’s a kind of invisible city, you know, Las Vegas is very strange for that, there is the strip, the casinos and public tourist things. All sort of around, are protected by walls, so it’s an extremely invisible city because all these walls you have in suburbs. So when you are there, it’s difficult to see the decline, the decay.

BEN WILSON – What does the title mean?

FLORENT TILLON – Because it was about this idea, it’s a kind of sense of humour in there, because you are meditating in the middle of a city which is twenty four hours and seven days, up and into alcohol and entertainment and things like that, so it’s kind of fun to meditate there. But it’s also one of the best places because of all the desert around, and even inside the fool, there is so much emptiness that makes it a good place to mediate. It’s in the mist of this crazy things and it’s a good place to meditate on a lot of good things.

BEN WILSON – When did you make the film and how many days did you take to film?

FLORENT TILLON – I had this idea of making a film about Vegas when I was shooting in Detroit, so I had this idea several years ago, but we shot it in the summer, not this summer but one year before. It was a long process, because the production that was involved, the French system is very long. I prefer to shoot, right now, on my own money, because I was feeling that the characters and the situation was there and its not possible to wait for the commission and subside and the subject over, so it was in advance so, it explains why it took so long to edit, but it was also a difficult film to edit.

Stay tuned to News1130 tomorrow at 7PM when the Evening Show will be speaking to Brent Hodge the filmmaker behind ‘A Brony Tale’. Tune in to hear all about the group of men who are fans of the animated TV show ‘My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic.’

Rogers is a Presenting Partner of DOXA.