Sundance ’18: Capturing intimacy and inspiration for “Believer”

Anton Floquet takes pride in his ability to stay nimble. The Los Angeles-based cinematographer, who has been to over 31 different countries for production alone, says he’ll often receive a last-minute ...
January 19, 2018

Anton Floquet takes pride in his ability to stay nimble.

The Los Angeles-based cinematographer, who has been to over 31 different countries for production alone, says he’ll often receive a last-minute call that will have him flying out to far-flung destinations a few days later.

“I’m a guy who can show up with a van full of lighting, audio gear and camera equipment and be ready to go,” he says.

This flexibility played in Floquet’s favor when director Don Argott asked for his services on a new documentary featuring Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of successful rock band Imagine Dragons.

“I got the call on a Wednesday, and by Sunday, I was driving out to Vegas to meet the crew,” says Floquet.

The final product of Floquet’s efforts, Believer, will see its world premiere tomorrow (Jan. 20) at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The Live Nation-produced doc chronicles Dan Reynolds’ exploration of how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members. It follows Reynolds, who was brought up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, as he tries to reconcile his faith with his support of the LGBTQ community.

The film also depicts how Dan and openly gay former Mormon Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of Neon Trees, decide to create LoveLoud — a music and spoken-word festival designed to spark dialogue between the church and members of the LGBTQ community.

“Any time working with artists or creative people, you know you’re going to deliver something inspirational or exciting for an audience,” says Floquet. “I could see it as soon as we started.”

The fluid nature of Floquet’s style was completely in line with how Argott and Reynolds hoped to shoot the project.

With Imagine Dragons putting the final touches on their most recent album in the studio, and a tour looming, the majority of the doc had to be shot very quickly. It was all hands on deck for the crew of four — Argott, Floquet, an audio technician and a field producer.

Floquet says the small crew ended up being one of the doc’s greatest strengths. Rather than a big posse of strangers barging into someone’s house, or spending extended periods with Reynolds, it was the same four faces every day.

“It allowed for intimacy we never would have gotten with a big crew,” he says. “The greatest asset in our film was our fluidity and small footprint. The rewards of having a tiny crew really paid off.”

That intimacy required Floquet to have a heightened sensitivity to the characters he was filming.

“First and foremost you have to put aside your lofty aesthetic goals because when you’re dealing with sensitive subject matter and emotionally raw characters in the film; the story had to come first,” he explains. “There were instances where normally I would be excited about lighting a scene or placing subjects in certain positions, but here you just had to be very [aware] of people’s emotions and let the story guide where the people would travel.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the climax of the doc — the LoveLoud festival — is almost epic in scale, with nearly five crews covering the behind-the-scenes events, the festival-goers, and the characters who had been featured throughout the doc.

As Believer evolved, Floquet says its impact and importance was palpable.

“We went from making a film about something to making a film that is something,” he sums up. “It suddenly became a movement, then all these outside players joined in, and it was very inspiring.”

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.