Bernard Fau's 2nd film
Johann Zarco, a daring champion
Johann Zarco, The Actor-Hero
Former pilot turned filmmaker I could not dream of for my second film, better hero than Johann Zarco, handsome as an actor, introverted but charismatic, gifted, intelligent, artist, sensitive to the history of the Continental Circus of my time and who had appreciated my first movie.
When his mentor-manager Laurent Fellon gave me his verbal agreement, I rushed in without any money, like when I was starting a Grand Prix season. Audacity ? It also took Johann to live his passion coming from a family that knew nothing about motorcycling.
I recognized myself in my actor-pilot. I knew what it was like to be a Grand Prix rider. I was counting on him and on our film to find the answer to the question: what does it mean to be world champion?
I didn’t know at the time that Johann’s life was going to dictate the scenario in a big way.
The FFM adheres to the project
The president of the FFM, Jacques Bolle, was the first to subscribe to the project: to trace, with a modest budget, the MotoGP season to come, 2017, the first for Johann. He was then a 27-year-old rookie, at the foot of the mountain he dreamed of climbing.
With podiums, lead laps, the title of best rookie and a 5th place in the end, the objective of Johann and his manager was achieved. But I missed the rest of the scenario, and above all, its conclusion !
Johann Zarco in turmoil
The Zarco-Fellon association was shattered, I was waiting for a contract to be signed with Dorna, the sole owner of the images of the races. The production cost was soaring and the release of the film was declining !
Signing Johann to KTM, a factory that had yet to win, was a thunderclap. I sensed that the scenario was evolving towards drama. Johann turned it into an epic.
My pockets were empty. But Johann had always been present and available whatever the tensions he was experiencing. Hats off to the artist. I had to continue. I launched a subscription which allowed me to continue. About a thousand people committed to my ribs, they wanted this film to see the light of day.
Filming resumed, accumulating more than 100 hours of images… to be reduced to 90 minutes !
With a splendid sequence on the boat of the world record holder in static apnea, Stephan Mifsud, I had the opening and the end of the film on my hero-actor with a thousand facets.
Against all odds
For thirteen months, twelve hours a day and seven days a week I put myself in the editing. I fell ill then caught the Covid. Exhausted, I nevertheless managed to broadcast in October 2020.
Life had turned a leisurely film project into a grueling journey. Buying the image rights at Dorna blew my budget. But Johann Zarco had bounced back and I remained confident.
In 2021, health measures canceled rallies and trade fairs and prohibited the 1,000,000 spectators from coming to cheer Johann on the Le Mans podium.
But at the end of 2021, the success of the premiere confirmed that the film was as much Johann’s as mine.
Sharing these moments of his life with Johann allowed me to better understand the qualities necessary for MotoGP riders.
And this mystery: what is it to be a champion?
A title, a film can leave an imprint ?
Film rewarded by the public
Bernard Fau's film "Johann Zarco, a daring champion" won the audience award at the French Riviera Motorcycle Film Festival 2022.
Buy the movie
directed by Bernard Fau (DVD or Blu-ray 90min)