LOS ANGELES, Calif. – When she was growing up in France, young Zoe Pelloux always dreamed of someday making a Hollywood movie. Today, she is set to begin production of the film “High School Hero,” along with other upcoming projects.
“When I started my producing career, I knew I wanted to do projects for kids and teenagers. ‘High School Hero’ is the first one I’m doing that specifically targets this audience,” she said. “This film has so much diversity and themes that need to be talked about in today’s society that I know people will get something from it. I am sure it will be helpful for young adults that have suffered from bullying, or from inescapable low self-esteem.”
Industry veteran Michael Carnick, who is known for the coming-of-age film “Who’s Driving Doug,” is the writer/director behind “High School Hero” which is the newest project for Pelloux who has been making an impact in Hollywood after working on such French films as “Qu’est Ce Qu’on Bon Dieu” (“Serial (Bad) Weddings”), “Demi-soeur,” “The Scapegoat” and others.
Pelloux is also set to produce the film drama “Methadone,” from director Shivin Grover, on the heels of such films as “Atop God’s Breakfast,” “Finding Faith,” “Twenty Years After,” “Vertrouwen” and others. But it wasn’t always that way.
Zoe Pelloux grew up in Paris in an artistic household where she was exposed to the arts early on by her parents who were both doctors, but who saw the value of museums, works of art, films, plays and culture in general.
“I loved movies. I decided to direct a small short movie while I was in middle school. My friends and I were writing, directing, filming, acting… Hopefully those tapes are destroyed now,” she quipped. “I never wanted to be an actress. When I started to have some interest in movies, I was saying I wanted to be a director. Then I discovered the job of script supervising. I fell in love with it immediately and I worked three years as assistant script supervisor on big shows in France before I decided to become a producer.”
After moving to the U.S. to tackle Hollywood, Pelloux attended the New York Film Academy where learned the culture and sensibilities of American filmmakers. It wasn’t long before she was tapped to produce music videos for such artists as Tarah Who?, Buddhi De Mal and Ruben Markussen before producing her first of many films in the U.S.
But even as her star continues to rise, Pelloux hopes more women will join the industry and shake up the male-dominated entertainment business.
“As a female producer, I am sometimes dealing with sexism on my sets. Either males think they should teach me my job even if they don’t know much about it, or I see them treat my female crew with less respect. That’s one of the main reason that I’m always trying to have my key crew all female,” she said. “For example, I am currently on a short fictional biopic of Maya Deren by the director Adrianne Lundy. All our key crew is female except two. But those two men are people we’ve worked with countless times in the past and who are very respectful whatever gender you are.”
Meanwhile, Pelloux is continuing to explore her creativity and ability to bring powerful tales to the screen. “I am attracted to films that have positive messages that are trying to make an impact,” she said. “I am not attracted by big productions that are only for pure entertainment. I really want the audience to come out of the theaters with something new in their mind, something that helps them make their own decisions, and hopefully turns them away from hate and ignorance.