The French invade Los Angeles this summer in New Wave Noir indie film
Updated: Jun 11
Young moviemaker making ‘New Wave’ new again
Most 23-year-olds have never even heard of the Nouvelle Vague, let alone adopted its style. But for independent L.A. film director Matthew Ben Miller, the French New Wave cinema aesthetic is the perfect antidote to a creative malaise he sees manifesting in Hollywood.
Miller is now in preproduction on The Truffaut Affair—a funny, romantic, adventure film he describes as The Maltese Falcon meets The Wizard of Oz. His dedicated team of international actors and crew are set to begin filming this summer around L.A.
“I like mainstream movies, but I think audiences are yearning for something different,” Miller said. “The Truffaut Affair is about a struggling young actor who goes to a bizarre movie audition held by a mysterious French director and finds himself unwittingly cast in a real-life noir thriller.”
He added, “It’s part magical realism, part mise en abîme—or film within a film.”
Miller credits his Francophilia to his French-speaking grandmother, who served as a nurse in World War II.
“She loved old French movies and taught me to speak French,” he said. “She used to tell me stories of her time over there. She made it all seem so magical.”
According to Miller—who has worked in the industry as an actor/director for over six years with credits including the well-received mockumentary No Bad Reviews, and a role in viral Samsung sensation Actor vs. CGI, independent filmmakers must be their own movie studio, marketing firm, and distribution execs.
But, where some only see obstacles, Miller sees opportunity.
“This is what the Nouvelle Vague was all about,” he said. “Tiny budgets, basic cameras, unknown actors and actresses, real locations as opposed to sets, guerrilla shooting, and experimentation with plot, story structure, and theme.”
Miller’s favorite directors to come out of French New Wave cinema include François Truffaut—for whom this film project is named—and Jean-Pierre Melville.
“Melville did what he felt was right, rather than chase the status quo. He was a gambler—as shown by the making of his debut feature La Silence de La Mer or The silence of the Ocean,” Miller said. “The source material was a book popular during Nazi-occupied France. Everyone and their mother wanted to turn it into a motion picture, though the author refused. But Melville decided to make the movie regardless and told the author, if he didn’t approve of the finished film, Melville would destroy it.”
He added, “But the author did approve of the final cut, and the film found legs. Going his own way is part of what made Melville the Godfather of the New Wave.”
Miller’s film The Truffaut Affair imagines what it might look like if a director like Truffaut, who died in 1984 at the age of 52, were to make a noir adventure movie in modern-day L.A.
“Truffaut was a big fan of American cinema—especially crime stories and the work of Alfred Hitchcock, who he actually wrote a book about,” Miller said. “And, so, we’ve drawn from both the French New Wave and American Film Noir to create a fun, quirky, and very accessible romp.”
Miller has three-quarters of the initial production funding in place and hopes to raise the final amount needed through digital video preorders and sponsorships.
“Following the Nouvelle Vague tradition, this project is on a microbudget, with about half the funding already in place. We’re currently fundraising for the remainder,” Miller said. “We’re being careful with every penny. And, some key players are so excited about the wonderful script we have, they’re volunteering their talents just to be part of the project.”
To preorder a digital download or help sponsor The Truffaut Affair movie project, go to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-truffaut-affair-noir-romcom-adventure-movie#/
The Truffaut Affair’s Producers Trevor Breithaupt and Lance B. Witmer have worked in various capacities on productions including Magnum PI, Obi Wan Kenobi, The Mandalorian, The Morning Show, and for YouTube sensations like Mr. Beast, Zach King, and Aaron's Animals.