After a long wait, during which Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli signed very elaborate autographs (each one had a picture of a cat), Verena, Lorraine and I were finally able to start our interview. However, neither had much time, so Jean-Loup Felicioli continued signing autographs and we directed our questions at Alain Gagnol.
JJ: How did you first meet, and had you made films previously?
AG: We first met at the Folimage Studio, and up to now we have made 14 short films for adults together.
JJ: How do you two divide your responsibilities?
AG: Jean-Loup does the drawing and I write the stories, and we design the rest of the film together.
JJ: Up to now you have only made films for grown ups, how did it happen that your first full-length film is for children?
AG: It is easier to please a younger audience with an animation film than it is with adults. And it's therefore easier to get funding.
JJ: What do you love about your profession?
AG: I really enjoy telling stories. When I started out I wanted to draw for comics, but then I discovered animation at Folimage. The advantage with film is that you can also add sound.
JJ: How long did you work on the film altogether?
AG: It took us two years to write the story, and three years to complete the drawing
JJ: Are there people who have inspired you?
AG: Sure, a great many. Old American black-and-white films in particular.
JJ: What gave you the idea of writing so many scenes with the cat on the rooftops?
AG: I live in a small town, and I have a view over the rooftops from my apartment. At night you can see lots of cats on the rooftops. Moreover, rooftops always symbolize danger.
JJ: Translated literally, your film is called "A cat's life", though in French you usually say "a dog's life" for a terrible life. Is it meant to be a pun?
AG: Most certainly. It's actually meant to mean to opposite, that is, a wonderful life.
JJ: Which scene do you like the most?
AG: The one in the dark, I think.