While filmmakers Denis Villeneuve and Jean-Marc Vallée continue their ascent in the United States, other Quebec artists are more discreetly succeeding in climbing the Hollywood ladder. This is the case of Maxine Gervais, a colorist who has worked on dozens of big American productions, including Black Panther, Harry Potter 4, Pacific Rim and American Sniper.

Based in Los Angeles for about 12 years, Maxine Gervais has become over the years a reference in his field, colorization. His work has allowed him to work with renowned filmmakers such as Clint Eastwood, Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump).

“My job is to translate into color what the directors want to communicate in emotions, summarizes the Quebec woman joined in California. I’m lucky to be able to work on Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film, The Mule, and it’s already my fifth collaboration with him. I am close to him and his daughter, with whom I also worked. It’s special because it’s a legend. For Zemeckis, I’ve always loved his films and it’s super motivating to work on his next feature, Welcome to Marwen, which looks spectacular. Every day, I can not believe I can work on this project. The visual effects are extraordinary. “

One of the unknown crafts of the cinema, the work of a digital colorist consists of reworking and balancing the colors of the film, and retouching some images.

“We have to make sure that each scene is well balanced in terms of color, light and saturation,” says Maxine Gervais. It’s a bit like working on Photoshop, but on the whole image. It is a complex work, but very artistic too. There are movies, like Black Panther or Alpha, where there were some very wanted looks and extreme colors to explore. I just got an HPA Award nomination for my work on Alpha. “

From London to Los Angeles

Graduate in visual arts at Laval University, Maxine Gervais began working in the film industry in the early 2000s after attending a private school course. “My name ran around because there were not many colorists at the time and I had an artistic approach. I was approached to work on the Harry Potter movie and the fire cup in London. It was my first big contract. “

Back in Quebec after this two-year stay in London, she sent her resume to various locations in Montreal, but that never happened. “I was finally contacted by a company in Los Angeles. They paid me a plane ticket for me to meet them and I got the job. It was the beginning of my career in Hollywood. “

Today at the Technicolor studio in Los Angeles, Maxine Gervais leads a happy life in California. She is married to an American with whom she had a baby girl. And she is delighted to see that more and more Quebeckers are making a career in the United States: “Quebecers are starting to make their way in Hollywood and it’s fun to see that. I would really like to work with people like Jean-Marc Vallée or Denis Villeneuve. “