From Iceland to the Golan Heights: Celie Cadieux’s Foreign Film Posters

Graphis Poster 2024 highlights cinematic storytelling and visual artistry in two pieces by French designer Célie Cadieux for Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber/The Match Factory. In her projects “Against the Current” (above, left) and “The Taste of Apples is Red” (above, right), Célie captures the essence of foreign film marketing magic. “Against the Current” dives deep into the stirring saga of Veiga Grétarsdóttir, illustrating her daunting quest around Iceland and journey as a transgender woman. Meanwhile, “The Taste of Apples is Red,” set against the backdrop of the Golan Heights, explores themes of family, duty, and cultural identity. Through Célie’s creative lens, these posters are a glimpse into the soul of the films they represent. This blog looks at the story behind the award-winning poster designs.

By: Célie Cadieux

“Against the Current” follows Veiga Grétarsdóttir’s journey as she becomes the first person to kayak around  Iceland against the current, while also exploring her experiences as a transgender woman. 

Collaborating with Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber’s team on creating key art for the US release of such a meaningful project was a fantastic experience. I was lucky to work closely with Nancy Gerstman, Emily Russo, and also Adrian Curry — who is a pillar of the movie poster community — and to benefit from their points of view. 

In this poster, I integrated both photography and painting to empower myself to explore beyond literal imagery and create a compelling visual with a deeper significance. Displaying the heroine’s transgender identity called for thoughtful consideration, as we wanted to avoid clichés and find a balance with the other aspects of the film. I came up with the concept of using her reflection in the water as a symbol of her former self, from which she distances herself in the film through the development of her identity, self-esteem, and sporting excellence. In addition, I tilted the scene to convey her uphill journey. 

The blue naturally imposed itself as most of the film happens at sea, but is saturated to showcase Veiga’s colorful personality. Vibrant reds and pinks complete the color palette, subtly alluding to the transgender flag and maximizing visibility for Veiga. 

In addition to the film’s release, the poster was used during Pride Month by The Museum of Fine Arts of Houston. The significance of productions like this film goes beyond box office numbers, as they play a crucial role in representing the diversity of human experiences. As an art director and designer, contributing to making those anonymous voices shine further holds considerable significance and is very rewarding. 

“The Taste of Apples is Red” (أحمر التفاح طعم) is a poetic drama directed by Ehab Tarabieh featuring Markam J.Khoury about a sheik living in the Golan Heights who must choose between family and duty when his estranged brother returns after 47 years in exile. 

In collaboration with The Match Factory team, I undertook the task of crafting a poster for the film’s upcoming world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. They were inclined towards adopting a conceptual approach. When creating international key art for foreign productions, maintaining the cultural essence of the film is essential while ensuring accessibility to a global audience. Exploring culture through a personal lens, here the Druze community via Ehab Tarabieh’s perspective, is an incredible opportunity,  and I strive to remain true to the filmmaker’s vision. 

Ehab Tarabieh has a strong affinity for magical realism, and I aimed to emphasize that aspect. In the film, there’s a powerful allegory involving a cave that I think greatly represents the themes of secrecy, silence, and feeling trapped, which are universal experiences. I bounced off this idea and used the silhouette of the sheik’s brother as the entrance, leaving the sheik outside, yet surrounded by darkness and uncertainty. 

The poster received a positive response both from the client and the audience, especially on social media platforms, such as Instagram. It’s in the process of being archived at the Margaret Herrick Library of the  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Fueled by passion and creativity, I see each one of my artworks as a window to a distinct world. My goal is to invite the audience in by creating pieces that are visually striking and thought-provoking. The realization of this philosophy greatly depends on my client’s willingness to explore inventive design concepts, and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such remarkable individuals.

Célie Cadieux is a French entertainment advertising art director and movie poster designer championing bold perspectives. She collaborates with visionary filmmakers, distributors, and advertising agencies,  bringing to light the uniqueness of each production. Committed to turning narratives into captivating original visuals, she’s implicated from concept to craft, using a wide range of techniques from traditional to digital mediums. 

Célie is a recurrent lecturer at Sciences Po Paris as well as the Estienne Graduate School of Arts and  Graphic Industries. Her work has been recognized by the Golden Trailer Awards, 3×3 Magazine International  Illustration Awards, the World Illustration Awards, and the Graphis Poster Awards, and is part of the  Margaret Herrick Library collections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the  Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Kulturforum collections.

Social: Instagram

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Author: Graphis