Filmed in early 2022, the soberly-titled film Marinette is the first ever biopic dedicated to a sportswoman in France. It tells the story of Marinette Pichon, a pioneer of French women’s soccer and one of the game’s biggest stars, becoming the first French woman to sign on to the American professional league and the French national team’s most capped player.

Beyond soccer, and according to the wishes of director Virginie Verrier, the film is also a portrait of a girl from a working-class background with nothing to predestine her to this extraordinary career, and it addresses issues of domestic violence, the evolution and recognition of women’s soccer and the emancipation that the sport allows.

The film’s director of photography Xavier Dolléans AFC talks about the project’s origins and his preparation for the seven-week shoot.

“We had a lengthy pre-production phase, with preparations beginning in September 2021 for a shoot in January 2022,” he recalls. “Very quickly, there were a lot of questions: how will we film the matches? How will we reproduce American stadiums from a shoot in France? What cameras will be used? That kind of thing.”

“Those questions led us to MPC, which specialises in visual effects and has considerable experience in the crowd duplication techniques we’d need to pack out the stadiums that would form such a big part of the story.”

The production team filmed matches in several stadiums, including the Jean Bouin Stadium, a venue usually reserved for the French national rugby team’s matches in Paris.

Read the full interview here in Cinematography World.