There are no words to explain this feeling, says a woman who shares a film with director Joel Souza

Photo Joel Souza, the director of “Rust and Bone,” the critically acclaimed movie that he shares with Marion Cotillard, has been shooting in Louisiana since spring 2016. On the afternoon of May 22, in…

There are no words to explain this feeling, says a woman who shares a film with director Joel Souza

Photo

Joel Souza, the director of “Rust and Bone,” the critically acclaimed movie that he shares with Marion Cotillard, has been shooting in Louisiana since spring 2016. On the afternoon of May 22, in Terrytown, southeast of New Orleans, a truck carrying Mr. Souza’s helmet malfunctioned and he was seriously injured. He spent two days in the hospital and since then has been hospitalized at a New Orleans spinal-cord unit. Although The New York Times once reported that Mr. Souza’s injuries were not life-threatening, new information indicates they are in fact far more serious. Mr. Souza has yet to return to the movie, which was already in post-production before his injury, and he is now confined to a wheelchair. He continues to recover.

In an interview with @stephenjahata + @don2slidex for Apple Music’s Random Acts, Joel Souza shares the word of the day, and the update on his injury. Hear this & much more: https://t.co/MyD59sCmO8 pic.twitter.com/iA78jLVwFu — PROOFARTY WORLD (@PROOFARTY) June 5, 2018

He is currently speaking again with a voice resembling that of the filmmaker, and attending conferences and lectures where he speaks in public for the first time since his injury. “I’m quite sober now and confident,” he said in a June 1 interview with a reporter for the Times-Picayune. “What I’m trying to do is have the same energy — the same excitement and the same curiosity. There are always obstacles. But I’m not going to lie — these obstacles are gigantic. This is a new challenge. This is huge. I think I’m more mindful and focused than before. I’m writing all the time, because that keeps me on track. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to direct again. I may not.”

Many in the film community have joined in support of Mr. Souza, and he is also receiving encouragement from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport officials, who have allowed him to relocate his family, after a promise of substantial assistance. “The airport is pleased to announce that it has agreed to allow Mr. Souza and his family to re-assemble and remain in their residence at the airport following Mr. Souza’s recent hospitalization,” said airport president and chief executive Brett Lee. “The choice to do so was made by Mr. Souza, to allow him to focus on recovering from his injury.”

Mr. Souza’s brother, Anthony Souza, said in the June 2 Times-Picayune article that the pair of moviemakers had a plan for the short film and had decided together that they would do it on a shoestring budget in 12 days. But, as the Times-Picayune explained, the plan—which included obtaining financial support from young producers—could have benefited from significant outside funding and investments. Despite the rough start of the film’s production, the film shot smoothly and had scored a Cannes Lion, for the most promising entry from a new generation of directors.

Marion Cotillard paid tribute to Mr. Souza in a post on Instagram. “Film is almost done and I’m a little worried about the amount of work we still have to do, because of this accident,” she wrote. “It’s unfortunate and I am very sad for Joel, who is my friend. I am so very sorry. But my thoughts go out to him and his family, because I don’t know what this will do to his family. Film was our baby, a little flick we were trying to make, but we did it anyway with our little collective of creative and collaborating people. You must really know how hard we’ve worked to get here because there are no words to explain this feeling. We’re so grateful to have made this movie and we hope that Joel will be able to finish it. A movie that I am deeply attached to too.”

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