at 18, he climbed the steps to receive a prize, “the greatest moment of my life”

at 18, he climbed the steps to receive a prize, “the greatest moment of my life”
at 18, he climbed the steps to receive a prize, “the greatest moment of my life”

Seth Kintege, 18, was invited to the 77th Cannes Film Festival to receive an award for his short film. The Mulhouse high school student tells us about this unforgettable moment in his life.

I’m still on cloud nine.”. The day after his return from Cannes, we asked Seth Kitenge by telephone to tell us about his incredible adventure. And we can almost hear the stars he still has in his eyes. An incredible adventure that until three months ago, this 18-year-old high school student did not expect to experience at all.

Seth has been a movie fan since he was little. As with many people, it started in the family, when he watched action films with his dad. At 15, he shot his first images with a smartphone. At 16, he worked all summer – a youth job in a town hall – to pay for his own camera. The passion was born to the point of choosing the “cinema” specialty in his final year options.

The opportunity to make your dreams come true comes in March. By chance. Because of a video he sees on a social network. It is the actor, director and producer Jonathan Cohen who invites young cinema lovers to participate in the Motor short film competition! of which he is president this year. We found this video, see it below.

The rules of the competition are precise: make a 1:30 minute film about a person who inspires you. “This is the theme that immediately spoke to me. I immediately thought of my two best friends who each had difficult stories.”. But Seth hesitates. Not sure it’s made for him, to be up to the competition. Finally, one sleepless night, the obvious: he remembers having shot images with them in their youth. This will be the starting point of his film, starting from his old archives.

When I finally decided to give it a go, I only had a week before applications closed. One week to finish filming, edit, mix. All in parallel with high school. I did not sleep much”he remembers.

Three weeks after sending his video, it was over the phone that Seth’s life was turned upside down. “I was leaving class. I was at the station to catch my train and go home. Call from the Engine team! : “It’s won Seth. » I had had a bad day, so at the time, I didn’t really react. It was later, on the train, that I realized. And suddenly the weather was beautiful in my head, I started jumping everywhere“.

Because the key for the winners of the competition is the presentation of their prize during the Cannes Film Festival, with the famous climb of the steps. Of the 508 young people who participated, Seth is one of the 25 winners selected.

It was an incredible stay”, marvels the young Mulhouse resident. Four days on the Côte d’Azur, living the same life as the stars. “We didn’t stop: interviews, photo shoots, press conferences, invitations to all the VIP places, so many meetings. Everything happened really fast. We discovered a crazy atmosphere. We spent our time wondering if we were dreaming.”

But the strongest moment, forever inscribed in his memory, will remain the evening of climbing the steps, for the presentation of his prize. “It’s totally crazy. When we arrive, photographers are shouting names everywhere. The flashes crackle in our eyes. Some tell us to move forward a little, others to stop. Look left, right, for photos. Then we must move forward again. And still stop. Look left, right…. This must have taken between 3 and 5 minutes. But it feels like it lasted 30 seconds.”

The climb of the stairs flashed everywhere. It was the great moment of my life

Just before, I called my mother. “We’re going to go up the stairs, quickly watch the broadcast on the Internet. She sent me lots of photos of me taken on her computer screen“, he smiles.

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The rise of the steps of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, seen by Seth Kitenge after his own visit.

© S. Kitenge

The evening of their awards ceremony coincided with the screening of the film phew love by Gilles Lellouche. With an exceptional cast: François Civil, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alain Chabat, Vincent Lacoste, Benoît Poelvoorde, Jean-Pascal Zadi, Elodie Bouchez and Raphaël Quenard. Among others. “In fact, they’re all super cool. Between their image as an actor and what they are in real life, there is nothing to see : they are really adorable, they take their time, very affordable. They gave us lots of advice and encouragement.”

The very young adult returns from Cannes, full of memories and self-confidence. “Before, I was skeptical about my ability to make films and good films. At Cannes, many professionals said that my film was touching, my editing very beautiful. I didn’t believe it at first, but when several people say it, you eventually hear it. Now I know that I am capable of transmitting emotions”assesses Seth, with a lot of maturity for his 18 years.

Since Cannes, I see the world of cinema less as unattainable. Maybe I have my place there

Emotions are at the heart of his film, Seth and his friends. The story in 1 min 29 of a friendship between three teenagers each faced with hard blows and injuries, but who manage not to sink, thanks to the bond that unites them. “I started from the archives that I had of them, and I wanted to keep this old-fashioned grain and the slightly disjointed framing..” The rendering is simple, subtle, touching. See the film below.

The unexpected Cannes adventure was the trigger. Seth made his resolution. He will try to get into cinema as soon as he finishes his baccalaureate at the end of the year. Without doing any prior studies. “I don’t want to be Mr. Everyone. So, I’m not going to do like everyone else“He already has three new film projects in the works.”In Cannes, a lot of people told me “as soon as you have a project, call us, a lot of producers have taken us under their wing. I want and I can start out self-taught. I now have enough contact for that.”

Obviously, the return to class, three days after returning from Cannes, is going to be difficult. “It’s clear that I’m apprehensive. I don’t have it in my head at all anymore. I’m still on cloud nine and already in my next life.”

A life afterward in which he will also be able to count on the support of the Engine! project. Launched in 2017, this equal opportunities system aims to trigger among young people aged 14 to 22 “the desire to progress and gain confidence, by promoting their encounter with inspiring models, by encouraging them to project themselves into the future “. Objective largely achieved it seems for Seth Kitenge, ready to live his dream of cinema to the fullest.

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