Active Citizen #5 – Gabrielle Leblanc
Active Citizens is a Journey City Guides series where we interview the people who participate in making their own city a vibrant and exciting place. With each new guide we ask questions to two personalities: someone deeply rooted in its city and the owner of a business featured in our city guides.
For our Brussels guide we interviewed Gabrielle who has been working in the movie industry for the past 10 years. She settled in the Belgian capital after being born and raised in Paris. Read below to discover about her life in Brussels and why she has a collection of church bell sounds in her mobile.
Hi Gabrielle, could you tell us more about yourself?
Hi! I am a 30-year old French girl who grew up in a Parisian suburb. At 20 I left Paris for Brussels where I work as a script supervisor for the French and Belgian cinema industry.
My father – who is an architect – introduced me very early to every forms of art. He was always showing me new things to see and discover. My mother – a flight attendant for Air France – allowed me to travel around the word and shared her taste for new cultures with me. Thanks to her have a curious mind and I discovered cities through their various sounds and smells. Travel is essential to me! My well-being depends on it.
Tell us about your work as a script supervisor and what led you to start this adventure?
I have been interested in cinema, characters, ambiances… ever since I was a child. As a teen I used to write movie reviews for myself. Everyone thought I would eventually become a screenwriter. But when I finally ended up on a film set at 19, I met a script supervisor who gave me the opportunity to work for her on a TV serie. While working with her I realised how important her work was in the filming of a movie: she oversees the continuity of the motion picture including wardrobe, props, set dressing, hair, makeup and the actions of the actors during a scene.
A huge task that is not to be confounded with the work of the screenwriter, everyone tends to confuse the two!
What’s next for you?
It’s pretty quiet right now. Winter is not the best period to shoot a movie. It’s cold outside and you don’t get much natural light. I’ll have to wait for spring!
What drew you to Brussels?
When I moved in 10 years ago I thought the city lacked structure and architectural consistency but I eventually grew to love it. Brussels has changed in the past 10 years as well, a lot of nice places have opened: foodie restaurants, local eateries, new brasseries… A new, younger generation has taken over and they are not afraid to launch new concepts
What I love the most about Brussels is its multi-cultural, cosmopolitan side, people really mix and mingle. You can easily hear 4 or 5 different languages spoken while walking down the street. I don’t know if it’s the case anywhere else in Europe. Maybe London?
Where do you live in Brussels and what do you like about your neighborhood?
I have been living in Forest for a year now. It’s a district close to St Gilles, a dynamic area attracting bohemian artists and young families alike.
I live close to two large parks – parc Duden et parc Forest – which is definitely a plus for me. The area is residential and quiet but not far from the Parvis St Gilles where all the cool bars are so I get the best of both worlds!
If you didn’t live in Brussels, where would you like to live?
I would definitely go back to France. I miss my country but moreover I miss my family, my old friends.
I would not settle in Paris but rather in a mid-size city with a decent cultural life and ideally where the weather is not too bad.
Where do you go to escape the city for a weekend?
Belgium is such small country you can find yourself by the sea or in the middle of the countryside in less than an hour. So my plans depend mostly on the weather (a common trait in Belgium…). The Flemish cities are a good occasion to discover another side of the country. I love Ghent and its riverside, the museums in Antwerp and Liège with its giant stairways and views from the citadel.
What’s your favourite city to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
More than a city, there is a country I am particularly fond of: Italy. I love everything in this country, the sunny weather, the Italians and their good disposition, pastas, the beaches, the churches… You name it! At every trip I discover something new because all the regions are so different.
I am so obsessed by Italy that I have now a collection of church bell sounds that I recorded during my many visits there. Listening to them after a trip always takes me back.
I don’t have anything planned yet but I’d be interested in discovering Estonia. My boyfriend, who is a photographer, did a photo shoot there a few years ago and knows the country well.
Otherwise I’d be definitely tempted by a roadtrip in Scandinavia. I am increasingly looking for nature, calm, long walks in the forest… Anything away from the city’s bustle. I guess I am getting old!