I had a bit of an unusual background before becoming a colorist for film. The first object I ever found value in was a disposable camera I carried everywhere as a young girl. I learned the craft from my father and grandfather who were both interested in photography. I grew up in the south of France and before I had transitioned into a career in filmmaking, I studied to receive my degree in psychology and more specifically, Art-Therapy. 

Film Colorist Lou Daumas reflects on her journey

A five-Year-old Lou Daumas (L) with one of my first cameras and 21 years later on the right, working at a post-production finishing company, Magic Lantern, in Manhattan.

In my time developing my thesis presentation, I worked in an inpatient psychiatry unit. Working in the heart of such a sensitive sector allowed me to discover another side of the profession. For these children in full hospitalization (meaning that they do not leave the unit except for activities organized by the sector and that they sleep within this unit) I organized Art Therapeutic workshops based on Grimms’ Fairy Tales and the modeling of clay. Most of them coming from completely dysfunctional families, they arrive in the unit in total distress and embodying the family symptom. Violent towards themselves or others, living outside of realities and norms, these children are often seen as outcasts. The more I got to know them, the more I learned to appreciate them: these children were just looking for a stable and loving home. The misinformation (none of acquaintance really knew anything about these units and automatically considered its residents as mentally ill enough not to be rehabilitated in our society) about these children then struck me “if only people could see what I see” I thought.

One way or another, I understood that my role was not just in therapeutic support, but also in sharing information, sharing life stories. That’s when I decided to explore my possibilities as a filmmaker and photographer.

Before graduating from the psychology program, I was offered the opportunity to spend my final year of the program studying cinema in New York City with an OPT (Optional Practical Training) visa, that allows me to work in my field for a year after my studies. I am now living out a childhood dream to be working as a colorist for beautiful films at Magic Lantern, but I still have felt a strong pull toward psychology. I thought of the children I had worked with at the psychology unit in France, and had a revelation:  I could combine my love of filmmaking with psychology to create work that feels meaningful to me. As filmmakers, we have a powerful medium at our disposal that allows us to share important messages and stories from all over the world. Through documentaries, narratives, music videos, commercials, we connect human beings and present storylines of justice and a new way of being.

For example, I work closely with a dear friend, singer and songwriter Morgane Rondot, who directs her own music videos. Through the music she writes, she shares messages about women in our society and the issues we face. In her newest project, «I’m getting Old», she explores the loss of her inner child. I have been using my influence as a colorist for her music video for this song by using color choices that evoke feeling and deeper connection.

Morgane has also recently been helping me with the pre-production of a documentary I’m making, about adoptions of children from inpatient psychiatry units. I learned how much these children needed homes while working in this sector and wanted to make a documentary on the subject. While most of these children grew up in dysfunctional families, all they really need is some love and a stable environment (along with psychological support of course), but it’s also important to acknowledge that it can be very intimidating for people wanting to adopt them to physically come and visit these psychiatric units. The theme of adoption has always been very close to my heart because I am the daughter of an adopted person. This project might take some time to put together but we strongly believe in its message and we are working hard to spread it. Surely, we can have an impact and take action in order to improve our future and the future of those who were never given an opportunity to speak for themselves.

For those who would like to follow my journey making this documentary or who are interested in the color grading world, you can check my website: www.loudaumas.com and the one of Magic Lantern www.magiclantern.tv who has an amazing blog where passionate people talk about post-production.

If you have any interest in the subject of this documentary, or if you would like to share your story as someone working in this kind of units or being a foster parent or adoptive family from this sector, you can also contact our team at documentaryloudaumas@gmail.com.