Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Entretien avec Edouard Sivière à propos Positif (FR and EN)

Edouard Sivière’s excellent new book L’Esprit Positif: Histoire d’une revue de cinéma 1952–2016 (Eurédit édition) is now on the shelves of film bookstore (I reviewed it on The Review). So here’s a bilingual interview with Sivière where he talks about the genesis of the project, his relationship with Positif and what he would like to see more of from the magazine. – D.D.
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DD: Comment as-tu découvert Positif ? 
ES: J’ai découvert la revue au début des années 90, en 1992 exactement, c’est-à-dire à l’époque du quarantième anniversaire. J’ai commencé à vraiment entendre parler de Positif à cette occasion et je suis tombé le mois suivant sur leur numéro affichant The Player de Robert Altman en couverture. Étudiant, je cherchais depuis longtemps une revue qui recouperait mes goûts tout en m’indiquant de nouvelles voies. J’ai donc gardé l’œil sur elle les mois suivants et il s’est avéré qu’en mettant successivement en couverture le premier film de Tarantino puis les films de Kiarostami, Iosseliani et Zhang Yimou, elle a aussitôt comblé mes attentes. L’objet était un peu cher mais d’une belle rigueur dans la présentation. Une autre chose m’a alors épaté : cette revue pouvait consacrer, comme cet été-là avec Orson Welles, 60 pages au passé du cinéma sans lien particulier avec l’actualité.     
DD: Est-ce que tu la lis encore ? 
ES: Je la lis encore… mais avec beaucoup moins de passion et de curiosité qu’auparavant. Je ne la lis d’ailleurs plus intégralement, laissant passer plusieurs textes et me contentant souvent des critiques des films que j’ai vu ou des plumes qui m’intéressent. Avant de me replonger dans son histoire pour la rédaction du livre à partir de l’été dernier, j’avoue même avoir fait l’impasse sur deux ou trois numéros, ce qui ne m’était jamais arrivé en 25 ans.     
DD: À Positif, quels sont tes critiques favoris, anciens et actuels ? 
ES: Pendant les années 50 et 60, Positif a proposé une critique explosive, passionnée et excessive, particulièrement vivante jusqu’à paraître désordonnée. Les traitements injustes envers des cinéastes et des films n’ont pas manqué mais il me semble que l’écriture d’Ado Kyrou, par exemple, emportait tout par sa ferveur, et que, d’un autre côté, celle de Louis Seguin, moins fantasque, touchait souvent juste ou au moins provoquait la réflexion. Gérard Legrand a aussi écrit de très beaux textes, pas toujours simples à suivre, mais remarquables notamment par leur caractère très personnel et l’approfondissement perpétuel qu’ils cherchaient à effectuer. Ce flambeau me semble avoir été repris ensuite par quelqu’un comme Vincent Amiel, à l’esprit particulièrement ouvert. Il y a tant de noms que je pourrais citer sur ces 65 années : Robert Benayoun, Michel Sineux, Michel Ciment pour ses textes des années 60-70, N.T. Binh, Christian Viviani, Jean-Pierre Coursodon, Noël Herpe… Sans compter que, parfois, les textes les plus stimulants sont signés de critiques accompagnant la revue sans être au comité de rédaction, comme Barthélemy Amengual hier, Michel Chion ou Fabien Gaffez pour les années plus récentes. Aujourd’hui, alors que les écrits publiés sont de moins en moins différenciés et de moins en moins tranchants, ceux qui m’intéressent le plus sont ceux qui osent tenir des positions fermes et n’hésitent pas à franchir quelques lignes bien tracées, des gens comme Fabien Baumann, Adrien Gombeaud, Jean-Christophe Ferrari…  
DD: Quels sujets aimerais-tu voir traités dans la revue sous la forme de dossier ?
ES: Aujourd’hui encore, la plupart du temps, l’établissement de dossiers solides est l’une des activités que ses détracteurs ne reprochent pas à Positif, en tout cas pour ce qui est des dossiers consacrés à l’histoire du cinéma. Concernant les problématiques actuelles autour du cinéma, c’est surtout un problème de timing qu’a Positif en général. La revue, toujours soucieuse de ne pas céder à la mode, prend régulièrement du retard dans le traitement de certains sujets comme internet, les séries télévisées... Mais au-delà de cette réticence à aller voir ce qui se fait ailleurs que dans le cercle de la cinéphilie « officielle », il me semble que la revue gagnerait à effectuer, à l’occasion de ses dossiers rétrospectifs, des mises à jour, de vrais retours sur elle-même, sur la façon dont elle a pu accueillir certains films dans le passé. Et il faudrait peut-être qu’elle pense un jour à publier un dossier Godard, qu’il aille dans un sens ou un autre, afin qu’elle ne continue pas seulement à repousser ses films contemporains en disant regretter ceux des années 60 alors que les rédacteurs de cette époque les avaient démolis aussi sévèrement.   

DD: Comment et pourquoi l’histoire de Positif écrite d’abord pour le blog Nightswimming a-t-elle été publiée en livre ? As-tu effectué beaucoup d'autres recherches et as-tu beaucoup retravaillé le texte ? Que penses-tu de ton livre maintenant qu'il est terminé ? 
ES: J’ai fermé mon blog Nightswimming lorsque j’ai mis en ligne la quatrième et dernière partie de cette histoire de Positif. Honnêtement, je pensais en avoir fini avec ce travail, même si l’éventualité d’une publication papier pouvait toujours se présenter. J’avais même complètement tourné la page lorsque j’ai reçu une proposition ferme de mon éditeur l’été dernier. J’ai donc tout repris car ce n’était pas publiable en l’état sous forme de livre. La première partie, consacrée à la période 1952-1965, était beaucoup trop courte par rapport aux autres et la dernière devait être mise à jour puisque trois ans avaient passé entretemps. Mais c’est la totalité qui a été considérablement augmentée. J’ai tenté de fluidifier l’ensemble, d’une partie à l’autre, et j’ai ajouté un grand nombre de citations afin que le lecteur se plonge plus facilement dans cette critique « à la Positif », ainsi qu’une conclusion reprenant l’évolution de la revue et évoquant mon ressenti par rapport à celle-ci. 
J’espère que les lecteurs en apprendront beaucoup sur cette histoire, qui est relativement méconnue, ce qui m’a poussé d’ailleurs à la rédiger. Le livre est sans doute, dans certains passages, trop basé sur l’énumération des noms et des titres, ressemblant alors à un éditorial de Michel Ciment, mais j’ai essayé de trouver un équilibre entre les données historiques et l’expression d’un ressenti, qui est assez partagé, me semble-t-il. Mon travail sur le blog avait été bien accueilli et encouragé, mais était resté très confidentiel. Cette édition papier lui donne forcément plus de poids. Quelques articles dans la presse et une mention dans la grande émission de radio « Le Masque et la Plume » le prouvent.     
DD: Ta conclusion est un peu sévère (même si je partage ton avis). Quelles réactions imagines-tu qu'elle suscitera chez les rédacteurs ? 
ES: Cela dépend évidemment des rédacteurs. Je formule des reproches et j’exprime des inquiétudes qui sont partagées par certains mais probablement pas par d’autres, satisfaits du fonctionnement de la revue et de ses choix. J’espère au moins que mon travail ne sera pas balayé d’un revers de manche sous prétexte que la conclusion n’est pas très rassurante. Et au mieux, qu’il provoque un débat au sein de la rédaction. Un compte-rendu du livre devrait être publié dans le numéro de Positif du mois de mai. J’ai entendu avec plaisir qu’au « Masque et la Plume », Michel Ciment l’avait déjà accueilli positivement, malgré les critiques que j’ai pu lui adresser.     
DD: As-tu déjà rencontré des rédacteurs de la revue ? Que disent-ils de ton travail ?  J’en ai croisé deux ou trois au cours de festivals ou de présentations, à l’époque où je tenais le blog. Ils connaissaient mon travail, qui avait donc déjà circulé parmi eux, et l’ont salué cordialement. Plus tard, grâce aux réseaux sociaux, j’ai pu avoir des échanges un peu plus approfondis avec deux ou trois autres. Malgré les désaccords sur tel ou tel détail et les différences de point de vue sur le fonctionnement de la revue selon que l’on est rédacteur ou simple lecteur, ils ne m’ont jamais laissé dans l’idée que je faisais fausse route, bien au contraire. Qu’ils me disent que mon livre leur apprenne, à eux aussi, des choses sur l’histoire de Positif ou leur permette de retrouver des plumes appréciées me fait évidemment particulièrement plaisir.    
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DD: How did you discover Positif ? 
ES: I discovered the magazine in the early 1990s, in 1992, exactly, at the time of the fortieth anniversary. I started to hear about Positif on this occasion and I stumbled upon the following month on their issue with Robert Altman's The Player on the cover. As a student, I had long sought a journal that would overlap with my tastes while pointing out new paths. So I kept an eye on it the following months and it turned out that by successively covering the first Tarantino film and then the films of Kiarostami, Iosseliani and Zhang Yimou, it immediately fulfilled my expectations. The magazine was a little expensive but of a good rigor in the presentation. Another thing impressed me: this magazine could devote, as that summer with Orson Welles, 60 pages to the past of the cinema without a particular link with the actuality.     
DD: Do you still read it ? 
ES: I still read it... but with much less passion and curiosity than before. I do not read it any more completely, letting pass several texts and often content with the criticisms of the films that I saw or writers that interest me. Before I plunged back into its history for the book's writing from last summer, I even admit to having ignored two or three issues, which had never happened to me in 25 years.     
DD: At Positif, who are your favorite writers, old and current ? 
ES: During the 50s and 60s, Positif proposed an explosive, passionate and excessive criticism, particularly alive until appearing disorderly. Unfair treatment of filmmakers and films has not failed, but it seems to me that the writing of Ado Kyrou, for example, carried away everything with his fervor, and that, on the other hand, that of Louis Seguin, less whimsical, often touched fairly or at least provoked reflection. Gérard Legrand also wrote very beautiful texts, not always easy to follow, but remarkable in particular because of their very personal character and the perpetual deepening they sought to perform. This torch seems to me to have been taken up again by someone like Vincent Amiel, with a particularly open mind. There are so many names that I could quote over these 65 years: Robert Benayoun, Michel Sineux, Michel Ciment for his texts from the 60s and 70s, N.T. Binh, Christian Viviani, Jean-Pierre Coursodon, Noël Herpe ... Besides, sometimes the most stimulating texts are signed by critics accompanying the magazine without being on the editorial board, like Barthélemy Amengual yesterday, Michel Chion or Fabien Gaffez for the more recent years. Today, while the published writings are less and less differentiated and less and less sharp, those that interest me most are those who dare to hold firm positions and do not hesitate to cross a few well-drawn lines, people like Fabien Baumann, Adrien Gombeaud, Jean-Christophe Ferrari...
DD: What topics would you like to see treated in the journal in the form of a dossier ?
ES: Even today, the establishment of solid dossiers is one of the activities that its critics do not retort Positif for, at least in the case of the dossiers devoted to the history of cinema. Concerning the current problems around the cinema, it is mainly a problem of timing that Positif haves in general. The magazine, always anxious not to yield to fashion, regularly falls behind in the treatment of certain subjects like internet, television series... But beyond this reluctance to go see what is done elsewhere than in the circle of "official" cinephilia, it seems to me that the magazine would gain, in the course of its retrospective dossiers, of updates, real returns on itself, how it was able to accommodate certain films in the past. And perhaps Positif should one day think of publishing a dossier on Godard, that he go one way or another, so that it does not just continue to reject his contemporary films by saying agreeing with regret the sentiments of the 60s writers that demolished him so severely.     
DD: How did your history of Positif  that was first written for the Nightswimming blog get published in book ? Have you done a lot of other research since and have you reworked the text a lot for the book ? What do you think of your book now that it is finished ? 
ES: I closed my blog Nightswimming when I posted the fourth and final part of this story from Positif. Honestly, I thought I was done with this work, even if the possibility of a paper publication could still arise. I had even turned the page completely when I received a firm proposal from my publisher last summer. So I took it all back because it was not publishable for book form. The first part, devoted to the period 1952-1965, was far too short compared to the others and the last part had to be updated since three years had passed in the meantime. But it is the totality that has been considerably increased. I have attempted to make the whole process more fluid from one part to the other, and I have added a large number of quotations so that the reader can immerse themself more readily into this criticism “à la Positif” and a conclusion resuming the evolution of the review and evoking my feelings in relation to it. I hope that readers will learn a lot about this story, which is relatively unknown, which led me to write it. The book is undoubtedly, in some passages, too based on the enumeration of names and titles, resembling an editorial of Michel Ciment, but I tried to find a balance between the historical data and the expression of a feeling, which is fairly shared, it seems to me. My work on the blog was welcomed and encouraged, but remained very confidential. This paper edition inevitably gives it more weight. A few articles in the press and a mention on the major French radio show Le Masque et la Plume prove it.     
DD: Your conclusion is a bit severe (even if I share your opinion). What reactions do you think it will cause among the editors ? 
ES: It obviously depends on the writers. I am expressing reproaches and concerns that are shared by some but probably not by others, who are satisfied with the way the journal works and its choices. I hope at least that my work will not be swept away by a brush of the sleeve under the pretext that the conclusion is not very reassuring. And at best, it provokes a debate at Positif. A review of the book should be published in the May issue of Positif. I was pleased to hear that in Le Masque et la Plume, Michel Ciment had already welcomed it positively, despite the criticisms I included.     
DD: Have you ever met editors of the magazine ? What do they say about your work ?
ES: I saw two or three of them at festivals or presentations, at the time I wrote my blog. They knew my work, which had already circulated among them, and greeted it cordially. Later, thanks to the social networks, I was able to have a little more in depth exchanges with two or three others. In spite of the disagreements on this or that detail and the different views on the functioning of the magazine, depending on whether you are one of its writers or a simple reader, they never left me in the idea that I was wrong, on the contrary. When they tell me that my book teaches them things about the story of Positif or allow them to find appreciated writers, it obviously makes me particularly happy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

100 Best Canadian Films – Piers Handling

The reputation of Piers Handling precedes him: not only is he the director of TIFF but also a passionate cinephile and a valuable supporter of Canadian cinema. This includes having published two books on some of Canada's most important directors: Donald Shebib and David Cronenberg. Other contributions to 100 Best Canadian Films include those by Marcel Jean, Mike Hoolboom and myself. They’re meant to be fun, subjective forays into the history of Canadian cinema. I’m also excited to to highlight the great new TIFF Canada on Screen website where many of these films are beautifully described and illustrated. There’s more to come! – D.D.
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Piers Handling’s 103 Best Canadian Films
- Back to God's Country (David Hartford, 1919)

- Carry on Sergeant! (Bruce Bairnsfather, 1928) 
 
- Rhapsody In Two Languages (Gordon Sparling, 1934)

- Churchill's Island (Stuart Legg, 1941)
- Listen to the Prairies (Gudrun Parker, 1945)

- Neighbours (Norman McLaren, 1952)
- Corral (Colin Low, 1954)
- Paul Tomkowicz: Street-railway Switchman (Roman Kroitor, 1954)
- City of Gold (Colin Low, Wolf Koenig, 1957)
- Les raquetteurs (Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx, 1958)
- The Days Before Christmas (Wolf Koenig, Terence Macartney-Filgate, Stanley Jackson, 1958)

- Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett, 1961)
- Lonely Boy (Roman Kroitor, Wolf Koenig, 1962)
- Bûcherons de la Manouane (Arthur Lamothe, 1962)
- Jour après jour (Clément Perron, 1962)
- Pour la suite du monde (Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière, 1963)
- À tout prendre (Claude Jutra, 1963)
- Le chat dans le sac (Gilles Groulx, 1964)
- Nobody Waved Good-bye (Don Owen, 1964)
- Memorandum (Donald Brittain, John Spotton, 1965)
- La vie heureuse de Léopold Z (Gilles Carle, 1965)
- Winter Kept Us Warm (David Secter, 1965)
- Entre la mer et l'eau douce (Michel Brault, 1967)
- Warrendale (Allan King, 1967)
- Il ne faut pas mourir pour ça (Jean Pierre Lefebvre, 1967)
- Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967)
- Rat Life and Diet in North America (Joyce Wieland, 1968)
- A Married Couple (Allan King, 1969)
- Good Times Bad Times (Donald Shebib, 1969)

- The Act of the Heart (Paul Almond, 1970)
- Surfacing on the Thames (David Rimmer, 1970)
- Sad Song of Yellow Skin (Michael Rubbo, 1970)
- Goin' Down the Road (Donald Shebib, 1970)
- Les mâles (Gilles Carle, 1971)
- Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971)
- The Only Thing You Know (Clarke Mackey, 1971)
- La vraie nature de Bernadette (Gilles Carle, 1972)
- La vie rêvée (Mireille Dansereau, 1972)
- Wedding in White (William Fruet, 1972) 
- Le Temps d'une chasse (Francis Mankiewicz, 1972)
- Réjeanne Padovani (Denys Arcand, 1973)
- Les dernières fiançailles (Jean Pierre Lefebvre, 1973)
- The Hard Part Begins (Paul Lynch, 1973)
- Paperback Hero (Peter Pearson, 1973)
- Between Friends (Donald Shebib, 1973)
- Les Ordres (Michel Brault, 1974)
- Bar Salon (André Forcier, 1974)
- Cree Hunters of Mistassini (Boyce Richardson, Tony Ianzelo, 1974)
- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Ted Kotcheff, 1974)
- Waiting for Fidel (Michael Rubbo, 1974)
- Montreal Main (Frank Vitale, 1974)
- She Is Away (Bruce Elder, 1976)
- The Far Shore (Joyce Wieland, 1976)
- J.A. Martin photographe (Jean Beaudin, 1977)
- Chronique de la vie quotidienne: Samedi (Pierre Bernier, Jean Chabot, Roger Frappier, Claude Grenier, Jacques Leduc, 1977)
- Le vieux pays où Rimbaud est mort (Jean Pierre Lefebvre, 1977)
- The Rubber Gun (Allan Moyle, 1977)
- Mother Tongue (Derek May, 1979)
- Mourir à tue-tête (Anne Claire Poirier, 1979)

- Les Bons débarras (Francis Mankiewicz, 1980)
- La cuisine rouge (Paule Baillargeon, Frédérique Collin, 1980)
- Sifted Evidence (Patricia Gruben, 1981)
- The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos, 1982)
- Poetry in Motion (Ron Mann, 1982)
- La bête lumineuse (Pierre Perrault, 1982)
- Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
- Sonatine (Micheline Lanctôt, 1984)
- La femme de l’hôtel (Léa Pool, 1984)
- Crime Wave (John Paizs, 1985)
- My American Cousin (Sandy Wilson, 1985)
- Le Déclin de L'empire Américain (Denys Arcand, 1986) 
- White Museum (Mike Hoolboom, 1986)
- Family Viewing (Atom Egoyan, 1987)
- Un zoo la nuit (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1987)
- Life Classes (William D. MacGillivray, 1987)
- I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Patricia Rozema, 1987)
- Loyalties (Anne Wheeler, 1987)
- Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)

- The Making Of Monsters (John Greyson, 1990)
- Archangel (Guy Maddin, 1990)
- The Adjuster (Atom Egoyan, 1991)
- Highway 61 (Bruce McDonald, 1991)
- Calendar (Atom Egoyan, 1993)
- Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (François Girard, 1993)
- Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance (Alanis Obomsawin, 1993)
- Save My Lost Nigga Soul (Clement Virgo, 1993)
- Picture of Light (Peter Mettler, 1994)
- Rude (Clement Virgo, 1995)
- Crash (David Cronenberg, 1996)
- Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)
- The Five Senses (Jeremy Podeswa, 1999)

- The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, 2000)
- Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, 2001)
- Gambling, Gods and LSD (Peter Mettler, 2002)
- La neuvaine (Bernard Émond, 2005)
- Water (Deepa Mehta, 2005)
- C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2005)
- Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal, 2006)
- My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)
- Polytechnique (Denis Villeneuve, 2009)

- Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan, 2012)
- Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
- Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n'ont fait que se creuser un tombeau (Mathieu Denis, Simon Lavoie, 2016)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Matt’s Movie Posters

“Going to lounge at a friend’s house and play board games and just waste their time. That’s one of the great... That is what our society… Like all of this stuff. Like the doctors, the energy, all of the wars, all of this brutality. It’s so that we can have those moments!” – Matt Johnson

The posters in Matt and Jay’s house in Nirvanna The Band offer suggestive references to larger subjects and themes of particular episodes and the series. The background pictures and posters hanging on the walls of the living rooms and workspaces in Matt Johnson’s work have slowly evolved over time: In the original Nirvana web-series there were images of popular culture and personalized pictures adorned on the walls. In The Dirties there’s plenty of posters from mainstream nineties films in the basement and what makes them unique is that they have been grafitied, illustrating what Henry Jenkins describes as the participatory textual poaching of convergence culture. In Operation Avalanche, which is set in 1967, there is a well-selected arrangement of vintage posters of the classic films of that historical period. And now in the reboot of Nirvanna their living room includes a wall layered with the highly esteemed Criterion Collection posters.
Matt Johnson’s Nirvanna The Band The Show, similar to videogames, creates a playful, virtual world full of references that act like interactive hyperlinks that allows its viewers to participate in their meaning by pursuing them IRL to better understand their significance (I’ve definitively taken up playing pool at The Rivoli because of the show). These textual references through movie posters was always there in Johnson’s work and they culminate in the pop DVD covers turned posters of the Criterion Collection films that layer the walls of the Zapruder Films studio in Nirvanna. It was probably during the transition from the original web-series to The Dirties that Johnson leaped exponentially as a filmmaker. While the first Nirvana series seems more influenced by popular television and reality shows, mainstream movies and alternative music, video games and digital media, afterwards starting with The Dirties the history of cinema and its masters became his biggest rivals. Though it’s still popular culture (‘His name is John Cena!’) and movies from a nineties childhood (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, F. Gary Gray’s The Negotiator) that’s usually at the forefront of each episode, these tucked away references add depth to the work and participates in a larger circulation of film forms. From what’s available so far in the Criterion Collection, I’ve counted twenty titles that are directly engaged with in Johnson’s work (though there’s many others that appear through the posters).
François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959) seems like the obvious choice: a delinquent teen in Paris of the fifties who skips school and spends his time hanging out with friends and fighting with his mother. The Dirties has been said to owe a lot to Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoît Poelvoorde’s Man Bites Dog (1992), which is dark comedy that follows a serial killer as a documentary crew is making a film about him. Johnson has spoken highly of Orson Welles (a The Stranger poster is on their office wall in Operation Avalanche) and the film of this star-director that has been the most cited is F for Fake (1973) for revealing the illusionary nature of the medium and for being about the creation of a film. One of the special features on the DVD of The Dirties is Johnson editing the film on his Mac computer, which is the most direct connotation of the Welles documentary (and perhaps also Filming Othello). Lindsay Anderson’s If…. (1968) starring Malcolm McDowell as a rebellious teen in the academy who takes to violence is a staple of the school shooting genre. When Matt is in drag singing ‘Malkovich, Malkovich…’ making their student film in The Dirties it’s a direct reference to Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich (1999). The two secret, hidden references in The Dirties are Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold home videos (the Columbine shooters) and Ben Coccio’s Zero Day (2003).
In Operation Avalanche there’s a scene where Matt is talking and in the background Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) is playing in the background and they also visit Stanley Kubrick on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The direct cinema style of the film was said to be influenced by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin’s documentary on The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter (1970). One particular great introductory medium shot of Matt reminded of how John Ford introduced John Wayne in Stagecoach (1939). The hidden references in Operation Avalanche are the moon landing conspiracy films Peter Hyams’s Capricorn One (1977) and William Karel’s Opération Lune (2002).
But the difference between the use of posters in Operation Avalanche and Nirvanna is comparable to the difference between Hollywood Canteen and the Criterion offices on Fifth Avenue. In episode six The Boy there are two miracles: discovering the boy is able to walk and Jay coming to terms with his severe mother. These reminded me of how the fifties Cahiers critics saw in the films of Rossellini (Journey to Italy) and Hitchcock the creation of miracles. In episode seven The Buffet the episode revolves around the premise of My Dinner with André (1981) and there’s even an insert shot from it at the beginning. Matt also describes being really moved from a scene from Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata of Ingrid Bergman’s saying, ‘I could always live in my art but never in my life.’
            But its episode five The Big Time where the most posters appear in the frame, as opposed to mostly just being in the background of some of the interior shots, and it’s the one where Matt becomes a filmmaker and takes his film to Sundance (also explicitly referenced is the Entourage episode The Sundance Kids). In their living room, surrounded by their piano, television and N64 and other collectibles these Criterion posters are on full display on the west wall by the bunkbed. These include: Sam Fuller’s White Dog (1982), which makes one think if is it’s the Matt character whose racist or if it’s a show about racism? Though the blunt insensitivity to racial issues probably owes more to the shtick of certain gonzo comedians and their characters like David Brent (Ricky Gervais), Jonah Takalua (Chris Lilley) and Ali G (Sacha Baron Cohen). There’s Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). So is Matt just trying to do the right thing? I’m not so sure… Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). Is this to suggest Matt is a Christ-like martyr, suffering for all of our sins? Maybe a bit of stretch… Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960) is there. The Antonioni film transitioned cinema to its modernity with its narrative and ambiguity, sense of alienation and duration. Would Nirvanna be bringing the cinematographic medium into its next phase? The Beastie Boys Video Anthology, and perhaps to a lesser extent Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1991) and Dazed and Confused (1993), culminates the MTV music video mashups of styles and nineties pop joyfulness that they would expand on. Chasing Amy (1997) because Kevin Smith (who has a cameo in the series) would help Johnson earlier in his career by distributing The Dirties. Rainer W. Fassbinder’s World on a Wire (1973) predicts the virtual, simulated world of spectacle that modern society is wrapped up in but also Fassbinder the filmmaker, working with a tightly-knit troupe, starring in his work and making auteur television (Fox and His Friends is another example of a work with similarities). Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up (1990) which is about a con-artist being so moved by a film that he pretends to be its director Mohsen Makhmalbaf and is then caught, charged, released and then finally accepted as the illusion. Finally, and I think most importantly, David Lean’s adaptation of the Noël Coward play Brief Encounter (1945) where a chance encounter leads to a change of ones life, giving meaning to its existence and whose memories will always be fondly remembered. As great a description of what makes Nirvanna so valuable if Ive ever heard any.
So all of these references contribute to the DNA of cinematographic forms in Johnsons’s work, which I think him makes one of the most sophisticated directors working today, even though they are tucked underneath the work’s overt silly and adolescent narratives. Just like the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock these little details in the mise en scène can contribute to the plot and themes or just only be suggestive red herrings. It makes one wonder: where’s the Psycho poster hiding?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Canadian Cinema By Those Who Make It

Things are looking up: the semester is finishing, the weather is getting nicer and, regardless of what’s going on in the world, people seem to be in a better mood. So this new post is an attempt to catch up with some of the directors who are making Canadian cinema so special right now and to see where they’re at. I’ve asked them all four questions: 1. What are you working on? 2. Q:  Have you had a project you couldn’t get it made, finished or shown? Or do you have a dream project that you would love to make? 3. What more do you want to see in the Canadian film landscape? 4. What’s a Canadian film that has inspired you? I’ll like to thank them all for contributing. There’s even more brightness ahead! – D.D.
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Paul Gross
1. Developing a TV series about the surveillance state, called Five Eyes. Will explore the tension between the need for security and the rights of privacy.
2. Oh, there are many projects I couldn’t get made, a common frustration of filmmaking. My dream, and not one I expect to realize, would be to make a film about Maria de Estrada, a brilliant swordswoman who fought alongside Hernan Cortez.
3. To put it simply: More films, from more voices.
4. The first film that had a real impact on me was Goin' Down the Road by Don Shebib. I saw it again not so long ago and it has stood the test of time: It is a terrific film.
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Rebeccah Love
1. I’m currently in post-production for my latest film Acres. Tying together loose ends, soon we’ll be arranging for a screening. I’m also finishing my University of Guelph thesis, A History of Love, and preparing for my thesis defense.  
2. Oh, the piles of unfinished work that litter my bookshelves! I have many, many, unfinished projects, many of them are things for which I no longer care but for some I still harbor a secret desire to bring them to life, someway. It’s good to let things go though, admit defeat sometimes. Not everything has to turn into something. Nothing is ever a waste of time, I’ve learned lots from my pieces that don’t make it to screen. In fact, sometimes it’s nice to just play around, experiment with words, let whatever happens happen. And yes I have many daydreams about big, big projects – the sort of thing that Adam Stockhausen would want to production design. I watch movies like Synecdoche, New York or the Grand Budapest and I’m so seduced by these mammoth spectacles set to epic scores. The theatricality of it all, the stuff of my most extravagant daydreams. My thesis film Abacus, My Love was definitely channeling my love of super-intense production design. In other more grounded moments I find myself drawn to any film that pays tribute to lush, untouched landscapes. Far From the Madding Crowd, a lot of Joe Wright stuff, Miyazaki, Days of Heaven. Acres falls more into this category. But at the end of the day it’s not about the production design or locations. It’s about the story. I’d love to make something like the works of Noah Baumbach or Miranda July, taking the quotidian and making it sublime. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about family and the politics of a dinner table. I’ve had Couperin’s les barricades mystérieuses on repeat on my way to work. I don’t know what will come of these thoughts or this music but some kind of story is brewing. I have two feature length scripts I’ve been chugging away at – one, my University of Guelph thesis screenplay, and another, a retelling of my junior thesis Circles (directed by Zachary Ouellette). Maybe I’ll organize a public reading for one of them. Feature filmmaking is a mystery for me. Who knows what will happen to these stories.  
3. More playfulness. More exploration of production design. More stories told by people with disabilities 
4. The three Canadian films that have made it into my top ten list are Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg, Jean-Marc Vallée’s C.R.A.Z.Y, and The Man Who Planted Trees by Frédéric Back. Between the three of them you get so much: the ghosts of childhood that haunt our collective present, a glimpse of the divine, the struggle of being human and good.
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Hugh Gibson
1. Distribution for The Stairs. Developing several films, both doc and scripted. Each is very different.  
2. I’ve directed one feature. I have many dream projects.  
3. I want the directors of Asphalt Watches to make something new. I saw it three times and let me tell you, it’s even better when you’re sober. 
4. There’s many. A Hard Name by Alan Zweig. Recently, The Prison in 12 Landscapes was outrageously great. Cosmic Zoom was one of the first films I ever saw, at the Cinesphere. I love animation: Frédéric Back, Caroline Leaf, Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, Cordell Barker, Richard Condie: all are inspiring. The list goes on. My favourite Canadian films are Volcano and Wedding in White.
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Matt Johnson
1. Nirvanna the Band the Show season II.
2. I have been extremely lucky so far. NTBTS was my dream project.
3. First features by young directors I've never heard of funded by Telefilm.
4. Tower.
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Kazik Radwanski
1. I'm writing a third feature and working on some shorts. Hope to continue making shorts between features. 
2. Nope. I always find a way.
3. I feel like there is a lot of potential right now. I hope everyone lives up to it. 
4. I'm going to name two. Denis Côté’s Carcasses and Nicolás Pereda’s Interview with the Earth. Saw both films at TIFF 2009 and they had a huge impact on me.
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Nicolás Pereda
1. A film/talk about a German jewelry-maker, filmmaker, recently tuned archeologist, living in the Mexican dessert in search for the first humans that inhabited the Americas.   
2. I’ve made every film I ever wanted. The films I wrote that didn’t get made, I’m glad I didn’t make them. It’s never had to do with money, in any case.   
3. I have to catch up with recent Canadian films. I hear good things, so I’m in a bad position to wish for films… perhaps they are already there.   
4. Wavelength
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Igor Drljača
1. I am currently working on a documentary that examines the intersection between tourism, and historical and cultural revisionism in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is still in post, but we hope to finish it soon.    
2. I’ve been working on a film set in Sarajevo called Tabija, about the aimless post-war generation in a fractured and traumatized society. Initially it seemed like the project was going to go into production in 2015 or 2016, as the script got a lot of support. We received development support from the biggest European funders and markets during development: Hubert Bals, Cinemart Eurimages award at Rotterdam, CNC (French Telefilm) support for development, Cannes l’Atleir and MEDIA. The project is the ultimate example of how difficult and fragile projects can be when just one or two elements don’t align, and in our case it was the lack of funding options in Bosnia coupled with the inability of Canadian funders to support films in languages other than in English or French.    
3. There is a solid foundation of new talent emerging in all parts of the country, and hopefully the resources to support them can catch up. There seems to be some movement on this with the bigger funders, at least on paper, though not yet entirely in practice. The important thing for young filmmakers is not get complacent and not to expect anything.   4. A Canadian film that really inspired me during my informative years was Videodrome by David Cronenberg. I saw it shortly after I arrived to Canada, and initially I had no idea it was Canadian, though there were a number of obvious signs, but to a twelve-year old, it had James Woods, and it was directed by the same guy that made The Fly, so it must be American. :)
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Connor Gaston
1. My second feature, The Cameraman, based on my dad's novel by the same name. I've made the short film through the Harold Greenberg Fund's shorts-to-features program, so now we're approaching people with the feature script. 
2. Almost everything I write, at some point, becomes a dream project. But looking back, I've been fortunate to be able bring a lot of my projects into fruition and don't have a magnum opus collecting dust in a drawer. 
3. Unique stories from diverse voices. Stories and perspectives I haven't seen before. Original, imaginative, weird. 
4. Andrew's Sleeping Giant has probably been the most influential Canadian film I've seen recently.
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Andrew Cividino
1. I’m currently working on a handful of different things. Front of mind right now are my next feature, Butcher, which I’m getting ready to shoot this fall; a sci-fi series I’m developing with a broadcaster; and an episode of Schitt’s Creek that I’m currently co-directing with Dan Levy.  
2. I spent two years developing an adaptation of a novel written by a prominent Canadian author. It took a long time to get their trust as I hadn’t made a feature film at that point, but after a long development process of working together on it we agreed to move forward, secured development from the Harold Greenberg Fund, and were in the final stages of redlining our contract when a major US/UK production company swooped in and made the author an offer they evidently couldn’t refuse. It was awful because this all happened right before Sleeping Giant premiered at Cannes and I’d setup all these pitch meetings for the project and had to show up empty handed to my first meeting with all of these major players. It set me back time wise because it was supposed to be THE next project, and I’d planned everything around it. But life goes on, and you learn things; things like get that contract signed! 
3. I’m just eager to see more of what our emerging generation of filmmakers will do next. I’m excited to see films being made with ambition and scope, regardless of budget. I think the best new works coming out are daring. 
4. A Canadian film that inspired me in terms of direct action is The Dirties. I’d been trying to get Sleeping Giant funded forever and when Matt went and made his film outside the system with a non-existent budget it was a wakeup call that I needed to do the same. Creatively, I’ve been inspired by many: Incendies, C.R.A.Z.Y., The Sweet Hereafter, The Red Violin, Stories We Tell, Les êtres chers… It’s a long long list.
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Sofia Bohdanowicz
1. I share a studio with one of my neighbors in the basement of my building and he is a painter. One day I saw his blotting rags made of canvas hanging off a hook beside one of his paintings and they caught my eye. They are these beautiful happenstance works within their own right I think, and so I asked him if I could make a short film about them. I am still in the process of shooting it on my Bolex but I am hoping to be able to process it soon. Also I'll be doing my M.F.A at York in the fall and I will be working on a new feature titled Veslemøy's Song, which will be a docu-fiction about my grandfather's violin teacher, Kathleen Parlow. I am going to be working with Deragh Campbell again on this project and I'm really looking forward to it. Right now I am doing lots of research, writing and mulling over. Probably won't start shooting it until late 2017. Lastly, Deragh and I are also working on another project with letters that my great-grandmother Zofia wrote to a fellow poet in New York City in the 60's. I recovered them from a library at Harvard. Right now we are trying to iron out on a plot and we are hoping to shoot something later this year. We'll see! 
2. I have been very fortunate to have been able to complete and screen all of the films I have shot. I am sure that I will find something that I can't output one day, it happens to us all, but it hasn't happened to me just yet! I will let you know when it does though...   No dream projects right now because I feel like I am fortunate enough to be making everything I want to make. Since I have found a very efficient and economic shooting style I am quite lucky to be in the position that I can bring the ideas that I have to fruition. I also have to say that I am spoiled with having a fantastic collaborator, producer and partner Calvin, who really makes a lot of things possible for me. Whenever I feel like I've hit a logistical wall of sorts he always finds a way to problem solve with me. It sounds a little idealistic maybe, but it's the truth.  
3. I am really intrigued by the films that are being made here and now so I can't say that I'd like to see more or less of something specific. I think we are in a very interesting period in Canadian cinema at the moment and I feel really subjective to it so it's hard for me to say what it is that I am craving more of. I think the filmmakers today are making works that are diverse, personal, experimental and compelling. I saw Sophie Goyette's film Mes nuits feront écho at MDFF a few weeks ago and I was blown away by her poetic study that follows three different characters in such an insular way. By the end of the film I was at a loss for words. She has such a unique cinematic voice, it was quite impressive.  
4. I love Denis Côtés docu-fictions Bestiaire and Que ta joie demeure. I also have a strong admiration for his narrative work Vic + Flo ont vu un ours and Curling. I feel very engaged, challenged and curious whenever I watch his films and I get more out of them upon repeated viewing. His experimentation with duration in Bestiaire was something I really took notes from when making Never Eat Alone. I've also read up a lot on his approach to his docu-fiction films which is that he uses them as palette cleansers in between shooting features and he does little research and preparation for these works. I heard him doing a Q&A once and heard him say that he prefers to shoot the non-familiar when making his docu-fiction works because the films are best shot from a fresh perspective. He said that if he was familiar with the subject his shooting style might be a little boring but when he is shooting something about a subject he knows little about the angles and images that he captures are more interesting because they are about experimentation and discovery. As a result his films can end up looking quite alien, and they are so compelling! I think Que ta joie demeure definitely has that vibe, especially the scene with the people in the hazmat suits, it looks like they're working on another planet. I have a strong fascination for his films and his process and it's given me a lot of confidence to approach my filmmaking with a renewed sense of curiosity and less of a fear of the unknown.
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Denis Côté
1. I just finished a film we could consider a hybrid doc called A Skin so Soft. It features six bodybuilders. I’m very happy with the result. I also have a first draft of a new script; a sort of ghost film set in winter.   
2. I have no recollection of an ‘impossible’ project. My films are imagined in a simple efficient way. I don’t dream. I work and make the films.   
3. Danger. 
4. I remember that On est loin du soleil by Jacques Leduc looked like something I wanted to do. It was more than just liking it as a cinephile. I felt very close to it. I could name many others but it would be more like ‘cinephile love’. 
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Philippe Lesage
1. I will be shooting my next feature film, Genèse (Genesis) this summer. It’s an epic drama about first love. In my own minimalistic approach of course. As a filmmaker, I’m trying to seek for the epic and the grandiose behind the appearance of the banality, the mundane.  The characters are between 15 and 18 years old. Loving when you are young is so tough and cruel. I wasn’t peaceful and happy in love until recently, in my thirties, so now I can go back and explore with a little more distance stories about the difficulty of loving when you are defenceless, passionate, and candid. At the end, the irony is there’s no age for being blindly in love, making mistakes and ending up being hurt and losing your illusion.  This could happen to anyone anytime.
2. The cinema gods harshly tested me at the beginning of my film career. My first contract as a film director was to direct a behind the scene for a film produced by one of the most powerful producer of Quebec. He basically destroyed my film. He couldn’t bear seeing himself in it, I scratched his ego and his vanity. I did a frank and frontal direct cinema portrait about the anxiety and the joy of making a film, but I guess I must have had a little mean pleasure in showing the flaws in the way films are being made sometimes. The shooting became a crazy circus so the film is very good. From the main actor doing an overdose on the set to the poor director struggling against budget cuts.  So my first film was censored. I took it as a sort of compliment; rejection is a motor for me. I have been standing and defending that film till the end, but since it was meant to be promotional stuff, I had no rights. My images were re-cut in a weak rehash of 10 minutes. The real film was 60 minutes and it might be better than the actual film I was doing a behind the scene about. I was able to save a copy, it’s on mini DV!
3. I want to see talent, diversity, original voices and artistic integrity. Beside that, who am I to tell directors to do more films about this or about that. That would be patronizing and disrespectful. When a certain establishment wants to tell directors what kind of films they should do, anyone considering himself as an artist should remain independent. If I’m being asked to be more political in my films, I’ll go even more personal. Artists from all eras and periods have always struggle against an establishment that was trying to patronizing them by telling them what to do. As far as I know, the ones in the museums are, by a vast majority, the ones who had refused to listen.
4. Pierre Perreault’s documentary La bête lumineuse ( The Shimmering Beast) is one of  my favourite Canadian film. It’s a fantastic and cruel tale about power struggles, masculinity in its most vile form, and a story on how being sensitive and different in the middle of a human wolf pack could be unfair and without pity. I hate male groups, I hate even more male locker rooms talks and codes. It’s a story about a sensitive, but self-centred poet who goes hunting with a bunch of men including his childhood best friend. He will turn out to be the scapegoat and the pariah of the group, while his friendship with his pal is seriously jeopardized. If a screenwriter would come up with such a story, scenes and dialogues, he would be a real genius. That’s the magic of how capturing sometimes the reality can transcend any fiction. My challenge as a fiction director is to recreate the logic of life in my films instead of following the logic of narrative fiction, which is slowly killing cinema as an art form. Screenwriting gurus, workshops, the overall tyranny of the perfectly structured screenplays, are transforming filmmaking into a boring and conventional way of telling stories. Where’s the risk? Where is the freedom? Where’s the desire to tear apart a narrative dogma that has not evolved so much since the Greeks? Can we please still make films that are not undermining the audience’s intelligence, creativity and curiosity?
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Anne Émond
1. I'm working on two new scripts. One is very funny and the other, very dramatic. I don't know exactly what will be my next film, and it feels good! I feel free! 
2. Not until now, and I hope it never happens! Dream project: a huge, deep, serious TV show, like a new Dekalog... 
3. I want to see more films written and directed by woman and more comedies; and I want people to go see them on the big screen. 
4. Léolo, by Jean-Claude Lauzon.
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Ashley McKenzie
1. I’m working on a 7-part portrait series about deviant young women, as well as researching and developing a couple of features with my producer, Nelson.   
2. So far I've made everything I set out to make, perhaps because Nelson and I tend to avoid traditional industry funding that may tie a project up for so long that its inspiration, and the delicate moment of time when that lives, gets lost. The portrait series I’m working on feels like it could get held up, because I’m wanting to work with a bigger budget. So maybe that won't end up happening in the way that I envision it could. I don't wanna burn too much time trying to convince people to trust me. I'll scale it down and make it another way.  
3. What I want across the board– from filmmakers, funders, programmers, distributors, broadcasters, audiences, and so on– is more risk taking. More diversity. More Indigenous voices. More originality.  
4. Most recently I was inspired by Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Owns Graves. I saw it my last night at the Berlinale in a beautiful theatre filled with a large and attentive crowd. I was inspired by the film’s boldness and humanity, its play with film form, the collages of bodies and performative movement pieces, the pockets of vacuum quiet sound design, and the film’s ability to transcend all those things to be more than the sum of its parts. I left feeling it was maybe a masterpiece, thankful that it existed, and believing every Canadian should see it.
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Simon Lavoie
1. I’m actually finishing the post-production of a new feature film; it’s called The Little Girl who was too fond of Matches. This poetic black and white period drama is an adaptation of Gaétan Soucy’s famous novel.    
2. So far, I never had to give up on a project that I wanted to make. I was always able to finally end up making the film I was working on, even if it was without (or with very low) budget. But I know that, sooner or later, I’ll be facing this situation. Some of my filmmaker friend had to deal one day with this awful situation. Spending two, three, four years of your life working on a project and at some point giving it up… It must be very difficult. The bigger the film project is, the more you expose yourself, as a filmmaker to an impossibility of shooting it, due to lack of funding.   
3. I would praise to see a Canadian cinema that would take more risks. Canadian films are way to slick, way to clean. English-Canadian cinema –, because of the language, and the similarities in the culture have hard time to emancipate from American cinema. I would like to see film that gives a stronger vision of the specificities of life at the north of the American border…  
4. I liked very much the short film Song of wreckage by Ryan Redford. It was a true and genuine attempt to tell a story with the means of cinema (movement of light, evocation trough the off-screen, narrative details in the sound design, powerful framing of the images).  Recently, I liked also Werewolf by Ashley Mackenzie. I liked very much that the director has a strong and even radical point of view on her subject, and the mise en scène of the film firmly stick to this strong point of view all the way until the end of the film, in a perfect coherence.
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Heather Young
1. I am editing a new short film called Milk, it takes place on a rural dairy farm in Truro, Nova Scotia. A young female employee of the farm is experiencing anxiety and self doubt regarding her unexpected pregnancy. She finds it difficult to ignore her feelings as she is surrounded by pregnant cows on the farm whose milk she helps to collect after they give birth. 
2. Like most short filmmakers I would like to eventually create a longer, feature length project. I have some ideas that would lend themselves more towards the feature realm but as of yet I haven’t had enough time to dedicate to that goal. After I complete Milk I am hoping to focus on a longer project. 
3. I feel like we are at an exciting time in Canadian film with a lot of new original voices coming to the forefront and I hope to see more of that. Now more than ever I have been seeing Canadian films that surprise and inspire me. Within this I hope to see a strong representation of women and directors from other marginalized groups bringing their stories and unique artistic perspectives to the Canadian film landscape. 
4. Lately I have been inspired by a lot of Canadian films but one that stands out as a film that I saw at the right time to influence my own filmmaking practice was the short film Out In That Deep Blue Sea by Kazik Radwanski. Through a simple character portrait this small, gentle film creates an enormous amount of empathy and emotional engagement. At the end of the film the overwhelmed, defeated character attempts to thread a needle with his thick sausage fingers and this beautiful moment inspired me to find images for my own work that fully encompass the theme of the piece.
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Simon Ennis

1. My next feature is called West Locust. It’s a crime thriller that takes place in 1990 on the Alberta badlands and it’s sort of a cross between Wild at Heart and The Grifters. The script is in a great place and we’re just getting ready to try and get financing. Crime fiction and film noir are so close to my heart and I’m super excited about this movie. I’m also in the middle of pitching a very cool music doc TV show and have just optioned a couple of very far out (think 60s underground comics) animated shows.   
2. I wrote three drafts of a feature script that’s a dark comedy take on a Kafka story. It’s a dream project but we can’t get in financed because Kafka’s writing is considered public domain virtually everywhere in the world… except the USA where that’s disputed and without the US market, no one wants to invest. We tried to reach out to the people who hold the rights and, of course, it was quite literally a Kafkaesque experience - you never get a straight answer, they send you from one “decision maker” to another to another to another, you think you make progress and then they seem to vanish. I believe the movie will happen one day but I ain’t holding my breath for anytime soon.     
3. Something that legitimately surprises me.     
4. Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy, The Grey Fox, Carcasses, Project Grizzly, Comic Book Confidential, Videodrome, Crime Wave, My Winnipeg, Fubar 2, the middle short in Sofia Bohdanowicz’ trilogy about her late grandmother.
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Reece Crothers
1. Currently working on multiple projects. I just optioned a Washington spy drama to eOne. I’m writing a series about the failure of the war on drugs in Southeast Asia. In post production on a documentary called The Bicycle Bandit, about a former Toronto bank robber. I’ve spent two years interviewing police officers for a book and series about the changing face of policing in Toronto over 40 years. 
2. My dream would be to adapt Robertson Davies Fifth Business. It’s my favourite book. I’d like to do it as a mini-series. For me, it is the great Canadian novel. It should look like it was production designed by the Group of Seven. It breaks my heart and makes me laugh. I tried to get the rights when I was 19. I’m still waiting for the publisher to call me back nearly two decades later! 
3. I would like to see Canada on screen as itself. It bothers me to see Yonge Street on screen doubling for New York or some other American city (even Gotham City, which actually, I thought was cool). I have often wondered if there are New Yorkers stumbling around lost in Times Square trying to find Sam The Record Man. I think the appropriation and masking of our landmarks and landscapes creates an inferiority complex in our collective national cinematic psyche. We frame out the CN Tower, so as not to reveal ourselves. But I love the CN Tower! We don’t show our currency because we worry Americans think its funny looking. But the colours are beautiful! I’d also like to see more historical dramas, more genre films beyond horror and comedy (the two genres which we tend to do very well). There isn’t a lot of support for crime films here, for example. Or Police dramas. Where’s our equivalent to The Godfather? Or French Connection? Or Serpico? I think we are, overall, too literary-minded in our Cinema. Too polite maybe? I want to see more kinetic filmmaking in general. But I have severe ADD, which may account for my growing impatience with overly somber, ponderous dramas.
4. I would say Highway 61 and Hard Core Logo have inspired me the most. I didn’t know that Canadian films existed before I saw Highway 61. That discovery allowed me to entertain the possibly that you could be a filmmaker without leaving Canada. Hard Core Logo made me want to get on the road and see the country. Bruce McDonald is a national treasure, far as I’m concerned. I'd also like to see more empathy in films, not just from Canada. Ebert said it best, films are "empathy machines."
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Ron Mann
1. See Rick Kelly project - sphinxproductions.com.
2. I was planning a film about 60s fashion designer Mary Quant - who popularized the mini skirt, go-go boots and paintbox makeup that defined the "London Look". The film fell apart like a cheap dress. I watch it in my head and when I go on Pinterest.
3. We need more cinemas - especially in Toronto - to play Canadian films.
4. Weirdos by Bruce Macdonald. Its hopeful. I’m all about hope.
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Bruce McDonald
1. Shooting a live performance of Torquil Campbell’s theatre show True Crime.
2. I guess it’s a toss up between Yummy Fur, The Pornographer’s Poem and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid.
3. Kissing.
4. Crimewave. The Rubber Gun. Wavelength.
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Federica Foglia

1. I'm editing my third short film, a collage film of found footage and newspaper articles, inspired by the story of a young refugee girl who daydreams of becoming a ballerina once the war is over. I recently met a little girl while I was in a refugee camp. She came up to show me drawings of herself as a dancer. It moved me deeply. I’m also developing my first feature, the story of an immigrant artist who struggles to belong; it’s very autobiographical.   
2. Yes, I have a dream project, which is literally based on a "dream" I had couple of years ago.  It's a tragicomic gay love story set in an Edwardian mansion with a very specific atmosphere of black humor. The characters are all conceived as stereotypes but as the film unfolds they will be revealed to be the opposite of their cliches. They are connected with each other in an intricate emotional web of mastery and submission but: “not everything is as it seems”.  
3. I want to see more Canada. What does that mean though? It's so sad to see people refer to Canada as "Hollywood North”; trying to be something we are not. Filmmakers should embrace Canada's unique point of view of the world and be authentic. Canada, more than any other country, is a melting pot of different cultures. Imagine if our films reflected that? I would like to see more bravery and freedom, both in the creative process and from the funding bodies; filmmakers picking actors from the “street”, actors who look as if they've lived life, and are not necessarily good looking, shaved guys in a shirt with a Starbucks cup in their hands; films that try to tell a story visually and in an innovative way, rather than films whose focus is overly scripted and full of cliched dialogue.  Decision makers should have a refined and trained eye with, and stop requiring filmmakers to present a cookie-cutter script to get funding. Film is a visual medium and I am afraid that opportunities to find the next generation of filmmakers are lost in the process of script submissions. The single-minded focus on the script should be challenged. Film is a form of cultural expression, especially when funded publicly by the taxpayer. The funding bodies who are in charge of helping emerging artists should have the sensitivity to recognize talent without trying it to put it in a cage. We should reach a balance between unique vision, freedom of form, and trust from the funding bodies.     
4. I've only been in Canada for four years so my knowledge of Canadian films is not extensive. But I was extremely surprised and inspired when I stumbled upon Crime Wave, made in 1985 by John Paizs. I don’t remember laughing so hard in a long time. It reminded me of Monty Python, and it had Aki Kaurismaki’s sense of humor, mixed in with the gentleness of films like Sundays and Cybele by Serge Bourguignon. From my outsider point-of-view it’s astonishing that this film was made in Canada; it’s so smart, it doesn’t waste time on unnecessary dialogue and it’s anything but politically correct. It’s daring, hilarious, pure genius. But I also want to mention two other films that have made me re-think my preconceptions of Canadian cinema. The first one is Joyce Wieland’s Rat Life and Diet in North America, one of the best political movies ever made. It dealt with a contemporary subject in a metaphorical way; in a way she reinvented political art in North America. I was also very inspired by Colin Low’s The Children of Fogo Island which he made as part of the Fogo Island project in the sixties. He shot the film in a very neorealist way and it reminded me so much of Kiarostami’s films and the way he deals with children. It was so refreshing to see children in their natural element and through their daily adventures experience life on the island. It was simple and poetic and extremely evocative.
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Mitch Greenberg
1. I am currently working on a web series called La Chasse. It’s six episodes long; each episode will be between three and seven minutes. It’s about a young accountant who works at an art gallery. One morning, her ex-boyfriend turns up on her doorstep, bloody and bruised, desperate for cash to pay off a gambling debt. Hijinks ensue. I am also writing a feature. The subject matter has changed quite a bit since I began - I’d rather keep it under wraps for now.
2. My dream project is to make a science fiction film about the relationship between an embattled Earth, and an insular, utopian society living on Mars. The camera would have a floaty, inquisitive quality. It’d be something like Knight of Cups… But in space. And with mech suits. I think it’ll be some time before I can pull it off.
3. I’d like to see more stylistically idiosyncratic work in Canadian cinema. I want to see more Canadian films that convey a bold vision. There are many Anglo-Canadian films that are shot in a naturalistic or cinema verité style, but few that are stylistically original, bold, and visionary. I’d also like to see Canadian films more broadly accessible throughout Canada. There is an abundance of Canadian film funds and grants, yet Canadian films have immense difficulty finding an audience. As profit-driven businesses, streaming services and theatres seek to distribute films that audiences demand to see. In large part, demand is shaped by visibility and marketing. Given the outrageous amount of money that Hollywood spends on marketing its films, Hollywood films are the most visible and demanded films in Canada. Canadian films cannot possibly compete with Hollywood films in terms of marketing - the access to capital is far too disproportionate. And given their profit-driven mandate, theatres and streaming services would be stupid to distribute films with little visibility. I think a ‘screen quota’ system would best ameliorate the unduly oppressive conditions for Canadian film distribution. Under a ‘screen quota’ system, every Canadian cinema (and streaming service) would be legally required to dedicate a certain percentage of their screens (or streams) to Canadian films. Korea is one of the few countries in which screen quotas still exist, and their film industry is among the world’s most vibrant. Mexico had a screen quota system until the 1990s - and as soon as their quota system disappeared, so did much of their film industry. Furthermore, laws currently exist to ensure that radio broadcasters play a certain amount of Canadian music. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to attribute much of the vitality and success of the Canadian music industry to the broadcasting quota system. A screen quota system would have a similarly beneficial outcome for the Canadian film industry. If we legally ensure a space for Canadian films to be seen, audiences will grow, a Canadian star system will emerge, and the demand for more Canadian films will follow.
4. Dead Ringers is a Canadian film that has deeply inspired me. David Cronenberg managed to capture Toronto’s spirit in this film. The film was an international success, embraced at Cannes and by cinephiles all over the world. With Dead Ringers, he mythologized this city. I am hugely inspired to see a fellow Torontonian make a masterful, original, deeply affecting and challenging film that explores the spirit of the city where I was born and bred.
***
Mark Cira
4. When I was seventeen, I was working at Cumberland Cinemas - before it became a Nespresso - and it was great because I got to see free movies. Anyway, one night I got really stoned after work and went to see C.R.A.Z.Y. because it had a limited run there and it was life-changing. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is what Canada has to offer? You don’t have to make a super serious documentary or pulpy horror flick to be a Canadian director?” That was a huge turning point.  But then there’s 21-87. Is there a better edited film than 21-87?  Now I feel bad for giving a hard time to documentaries and horror flicks… The Brood is a huge inspiration. Not enough people give credit to Cronenberg as a writer. Forget the fact that he can direct. Just that script. Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s stellar work with The Corporation is hugely inspiring. That’s seminal craft. 
1. I’m wrapping up a short I’ve been developing for over two years now. That will be released later this year. Right now I’m in the middle of producing Brittany Lucas’ new short A Face in the Waves and Dean G. Moore’s new project. Both have tremendous voices. I couldn’t be happier being attached to those. Hopefully we can get them off the ground this summer. Myself, I’m adapting an Italian play for screen. It’s about jealousy and illusions. On the west coast, there are a few features in development with The Young Astronauts that are all in parallel development with different companies. Nev (co-founder of The Young Astronauts) always has exciting projects on the go. She’s amazing. So we’re always sending drafts back and forth. And when I have some downtime, finishing my book on Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, which I’ve been working on for just over five years now, while in correspondence with Jan Harlan in London.  
2. Yes, a remake of Koyaanisqatsi starring Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson and Jennifer Lawrence.  
3. The single most detrimental factor facing Canadian film is the misappropriation of funds within public and private institutions. I’d like to see an effort to change that. But as a filmmaker, you have access to essentially two dozen grants within Canada. Well, that may seem like quite a bit. But it takes minimal examination to understand how these grants operate and how little their budgets are. Look at the Ontario Arts Council, they’re one of the largest Provincial institutions financing films and they allocate a little over half a million dollars to fifteen projects. That’s roughly $40K a project. That’s barely enough to produce a short film these days. And that’s at a Provincial level. Once you get municipal, you’re confronted with even smaller sums. The Toronto Arts Council offers around $12K maximum to a couple dozen directors annually. Nothing of notable substance can be produced within these budgets. So let’s go up the ladder to Telefilm. First, their major mandate is that you must produce work that are identifiers for Canada. These institutions are terrified of losing their cultural identity. There’s an ideological threat to making something which might homogenize our culture. As a result, you’re essentially forced into producing very regional work which, for the most part, offer little to no expansion in the global market. So fine, let’s make films for a very minute marketshare in Canada. Well, firstly consider that Canada’s entire market is smaller than the state of California. But more importantly, consider how publicly funded institutions treat distribution within Canada. Telefilm offers a maximum of $25K for International marketing and distribution, which is a completely absurd figure given the success of any film heavily rests within this stage of the process. Quebec has seen some success because they’re required to show Quebecois cinema within the province. But there’s a bone of contention there because Quebecois films receive roughly double the funding of the rest of Canada within Telefilm. In the rest of English-Speaking Canada, we’re subject to almost entirely American cinema so the micro-budget features, if they ever do reach the cinemas, get swallowed up due to lack of proper distribution. No one sees them. This entire economic model is unsustainable. So the only financial saving grace for filmmakers in Canada is the tax credit, if we shoot here. But that’s a double edged sword because American productions take advantage of these subsidies like crazy. So, ironically, you have more pictures made within Canada that represent opposing national identities. The other options for funding smaller projects is corporate subsidies, which is essentially reduced to Bell and Rogers (who own Bravo!, Much, Cogeco, etc.). Both of which have annual profits in the billions because they benefitted from a government-regulated monopoly for nearly 20 years. These grants sit somewhere in the ballpark of $40k per project and function essentially as tax write-offs for them. The success or failure of these short films and music videos is inconsequential to them. It’s disposable content for their phones. It’s easy to point fingers at Telefilm and the Arts Concil. But the truth is, with the exception of the corporate grants, these public institutions are grossly underfunded. I mean just look at the quarterly reports of Telefilm. Their entire feature film budget makes up 0.005% of what Canada spends on National Defence annually. I’m perfectly aware this is a much bigger issue and, as artists, we need to start evaluating what we're worth. We need to collectively hold these these institutions accountable. The first step towards resolution is freeing Canadian films from their nomenclature. These ideologies are steeped in a certain myopic nationalism. Canadian film is bigger than Canada. So they need to either accept that and start giving Film proper funding with the hopes of a worldwide market or they need to start closing our doors to outsider influence completely and begin promoting and distributing Canadian artists’ work effectively. They can’t have it both ways and the latter seems to orbit closer to the realm of impossibility with each passing day.
***
Joyce Wong
1. Writing draft of the next feature and also adapting Wexford Plaza into a TV series. A lot of the American festivals we screened at earlier this year (Slamdance, Atlanta etc.) have a scrappy, frenzied energy to them, I’m still riding that high and trying to maintain that momentum into the next project. 
2. I have a guilty pleasure dream project I would love to make - a biopic about Justine Frischmann from Elastica. But I’m also worried that if I ever met her (or Damon Albarn) in real life. I might become catatonic and faint. So it’s probably best I don’t distract myself from the next feature with my teenage obsessions.   
3. Films that punch you in the gut. Like Albert Shin’s In Her Place.  
4. Incendies, I remember watching that hauntingly poetic opening shot while I was in film school, it gave me chills all over. But anything that Villeneuve does is usually amazing.
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Connor Jessup
1. I'm finishing up my most recent short, Lira's Forest, and am in development on my first feature, which we're hoping to shoot next summer, and making a short documentary this spring for The Criterion Collection. 
2. Maybe I'm too new to the game to have experienced frustration or rejection on a very large scale. The main struggle at the moment is trying to get my first feature off the ground. It's not a particularly cheap movie, so it's proving difficult. As for my dream project, there's a script I've been working on for the last few years about a WW2 veteran who goes to Japan and moves into a house full of ghosts. Really, I just want to work in Japan. 
3. Good movies. Specifically, movies that don't wish they were American. 
4. My friend Albert Shin's In Her Place. It's proof that small, simple, craftful movies can still being made, outside of any movement or clique.
**
Albert Shin
1. I'm developing a film called Clifton Hill with Rhombus Media, which is a mystery set in Niagara Falls.
2. I have a middle-aged love triangle set in rural South Korea that I'm determined to make one day. 
3. Larger audiences and viewer awareness. 
4. Goin' Down the Road.
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Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas
1. We have a new, bigger project in development. We’re hoping to go to camera by the end of the year, but it depends on a lot of things falling into place. 
2.  Think you know about Spice It Up. That’s a project we’ve been working on with Lev Lewis for a really long time now. We could never get the edit quite right and are still shooting it somehow. We’ve tried a lot of things with it and it’s a really interesting piece. If we ever stop filming new pieces, maybe we’ll finish it and have something to show. Dan Sallitt saw a cut several years ago and he’s put it on his top films list for three years now. So, the film has one fan, but we need to finish it before he removes it entirely from his list(s). 
3. There’s been some momentum and a focus on a new generation of filmmakers now and that’s a good thing to see. There’s been a lot of talk over the last year or so about changing tides and making space for work that usually doesn’t get funded/promoted/seen. Continued support and attention for this is essential on all levels. These films will only survive if both the funding and distribution sides care about these films—which maybe hasn’t always been the case. We’ve all been making our own little films with some support here and there, but it’s not been sustainable as of yet for most of us. Hopefully that is starting to shift. 
4. Cronenberg has always been an influence. Samantha Eggar pulling up her dress to reveal that external womb at the end of The Brood is one of the truly great horror images. It’s burnt into our minds. Hopefully one day we can shoot something that is as gruesome, terrifying and lasting.
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Lev Lewis
1. I am working in different capacities on a number of projects in development. Likewise I’m in the midst of writing the script for what will hopefully be my next feature.
2. I’m still early into my career so I can’t really fund most projects I want to make. I guess the closest example would be a script I wrote last year that I intended to be my next feature before eventually realizing it would take resources and money that I probably can’t currently access. So I’ve downscaled, and the next film I hope to make is much better fitted to the money I have some chance of raising. In terms of a dream project, I have many. Most ideas I have are historical which naturally demands more resources than a contemporary setting. I also have an idea for a film that would star Nina Hoss, Michael Peña and Alfre Woodward so that’d be a good time.
3. There’s not one particular thing I look for in film or art in general so I couldn’t really say specifically. Overall, I think Canada’s film industry should move away from trying to replicate the US and look to the example of smaller-marketed countries around the world that consistently generate good work. I also think Canada should cultivate more culturally, socially, and politically literate people who have a greater point of reference and experience to draw upon. Of course, we also need a production system that values those qualities when those people come along. It’s all very complicated I suppose. 
4. Sorry to be predictable but The Fly still makes me weep every time I see it. I’ve also just caught up with Nirvanna the Band the Show and like that very much.
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Pavan Moondi
1. Working on getting the next film financed and a TV show in development. Also, Sundowners will premiere later this month and make its way to Toronto at some point before the end of the year.   
2. Until recently that was Sundowners – it took nearly 5 years between first draft and production.  
3. More films with a voice. More comedies that aren’t hack.  
4. A Christmas Story.
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Fantavious Fritz
1. I’m about to shoot a short film project and in the middle of writing a feature length project. 
2. There have definitely been a few projects I’ve applied for financing for that didn’t go through. The ones I really care about always seem to make their own way.  
3. More risk taking and audacious originality. 
4. There have been a lot lately! Most recently, I can’t stop thinking about Sofia Bohdanowicz short films: A Prayer, An Evening and Another Prayer and Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf.
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Ben Petrie
1. I've been working on my first feature script since the summer, and after a long stretch of trying I finally have one in the belly. I'm just trying to feed it nutritiously and play it Mozart and hope it comes out healthy - still a couple trimesters til I'll get to take a look at it. Generally I try not to say too much about a project I'm working on until I have a draft, lest my presumptions of where it's heading get preemptively solidified in my head, but what I'm pretty sure about is that it's called Worms and it's about a couple.
2. Before making my last short, Her Friend Adam, I made a short about a lonely stretch of time I had living alone in a condo. Everybody on the team did a really great job, but I made the film while I was still living in that lonely condo, and never could muster the jovial juice I needed to make it fly. I spent insane stretches trying to resuscitate the life back into it, but never managed to and nobody ever saw it. It was a sad soggy experience going through it, but my many failed tactics at making it work ended up offering lots of great lessons that I'm really grateful for. 
3. I love it any time when someone makes themselves radically vulnerable in their work, so I'm always in for more of that, and I'd like to see more work from the people I love!
4. Ashphalt Watches, by Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver, was really inspirational to me for the way that it took their subjective inner experiences of life and blew them up into completely surreal, but still recognizable, illustrations. The vision they present in that movie is totally bizarre and surreal at every turn, but by depicting reality that way it made their story feel closer to the truth instead of further. The Dirties, by Matt Johnson, was really inspirational to me for its energy and audacity. It was also the first time I'd seen any of those guys' work, so it was pretty damn exciting.
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Chelsea McMullen
1. Shooting a mysterious film in Argentina at the moment. Also working on a feature length documentary with the NFB and Tanya Tagaq. 
2. There are definitely projects I've buried because they didn't really work in the end. Let's not speak of those. There is this film I made called Slip that I completed in 2008, so just a little bit before Youtube exploded. It played a few festivals and that was sort of the end of its life. Then a few years ago I started getting requests by platforms to put it online and it got really popular. I get a lot of work from a film I made like eight years ago. Everyone talks to me thinking it just came out, but to me it feels very distant. And so many dream projects!! The main one being a fiction film about a giant. My husband Doug Nayler and I have been working on drafts of the script whenever we have space for years. 
3. I would like to see more diversity and also more support for adventurous work. A lot of the work I feel connected to is supported more abroad then at home. Also, less convoluted apologist arguments that always lead back to it being too difficult to fund filmmakers under fifty years of age. None of that is really new though.
4. Manufactured Landscapes was really influential. I was interning with Mercury Films while they were making it so I would stay late and watch cuts. I think on a practical level watching Jen and Nick make that film taught me how to make feature length film. I kept waiting for them to cut that opening shot of the factory and they never did. That alone taught me so much about filmmaking. Then when I saw the film in a theatre (on a print!) I was blown away. I couldn't believe you could get money to make a film like that. The level of craft was incredible. So it influenced me on a practical level and an artistic one. Another film I would love to talk about is Anne Claire Poirier's Mourir à tue-tête. That film has haunted me since I saw it.  It feels so ahead of time in terms of form and content, if it came out today I think it would be recognized as a film that truly represents our times. So either Anne Clair Poirier saw the future or nothing has really changed. Unfortunately, I suspect the latter.
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Joële Walinga
1. At the moment, my film Cave Small Cave Big is having its Canadian and American screening tour, and I'm travelling with it as often as I can. It's a surrealist short written by two five-year-old girls. I'm also in pre-pre-production for my second film, Nightmare Here, a horror-short written by a six-year-old boy, which is just waiting for a funding green light. I'm also writing a feature, which is turning out to be much more bizarre than I anticipated, but in a good and exciting way! It's a narrative that compiles stories I've been told about my mother before I knew her, and it's designed to reflect my subjectivity (so, scenes become necessarily hyperbolic to reflect how I've imagined them both as a child and as a daughter). 
2. As of yet, I've been able to make all of my work and show it, but I have a feeling that I won't get the funding I need to make Nightmare Here. Since it is the result of the unfettered imagination of a child, it contains some elements that won't be cheap (locations, extras, animals, special effects), so I'm relying on three separate funding bodies to unanimously support the project in order to proceed, and those are tough odds. I'm also anticipating having trouble getting production funding for my feature, which I'm the most excited about and which I am totally ready to work on, but I'm afraid that it may be years before I actually get to.  
3. With respect, I would like to see Canadian filmmakers move away from the desire to strip film down to its core, removing the very elements that make cinema unique just to express stories that feel relatable or real. I'm uninterested in realism in all art forms, but find it especially challenging to get behind in film. I am for art that doesn't just reflect real life, but interprets real life through the lens of the artist.
4. When I was at Concordia, I had the privilege of being taught by Monique Moumblow. It was in her class that I saw her film Kevin (2002) for the first time, and it inspired me to be more playful with my medium. Kevin is shot like a documentary, in which the Moumblow parents discuss the antics of a Kevin, who we never see throughout the film. As the viewer watches old family videos of the two Moumblow daughters and listen to the parents discuss Kevin’s behaviour, they’re left wondering if Kevin even exists, and are never given any indications of how he fits into this particular family unit. Kevin is a wholly fictional documentary in a totally unique way, where the fallacy is out in the open and the viewer is strangely responsible for their belief or disbelief, and I’ve never forgotten how masterfully Moumblow used and manipulated her medium.
***
Daniel Warth
1. I am currently writing another feature, while simultaneously developing a television series with my friend, Aaron Feldman. The feature is a questionable love story, and the series is a strange take on the crime genre. Both projects are funny, sad, and somewhat disturbing.
2. If you'd asked me this question three years ago, my answer would have been Dim the Fluorescents, because getting it made seemed quite improbable back then. So, I think every film seems like an impossible dream project until it is somehow willed into existence. But, of all my potential future projects, one does seem more difficult to actualize than the others. It tells a story that spans about a century, and the hope is that it would weave fictional narratives through historical events and archival/documentary footage. I also suspect it's going to take more than one feature to do this idea justice, so I imagine that'll make it even harder to get the financing together. Its seeming unfeasibility has been strangely liberating for me as a writer, though. It seems so far-fetched that I don't consider any logistic impediments when I'm writing it; my imagination goes completely wild. It is quite literally a dream project, but I do hope to make it someday. Maybe it's a mini-series. 
3. I think a lot of filmmakers are striving for naturalism and/or objectivity at the expense of actually making interesting use of the medium. It's rare to see a film which feels like it has a distinctly cinematic vision behind it, but I do see that in the work of Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson, Sofia Bohdanowicz, and Joële Walinga. (Full disclosure: Joële is my girlfriend, but I was inspired by her work for nearly a decade before we started dating, so I feel like it's okay for me to include her here.) To me, these filmmakers all - in very different ways - make thoughtful and precise use of the medium in ways that seem legitimately original. That's the thing I love most in cinema: when a filmmaker finds means of expressing their ideas that are wholly unique to the medium and that wouldn't work as well in any other form. I think we in English Canada could be doing a lot more of that. I like that apocryphal Samuel Goldwyn quote, even though it's probably supposed to illustrate crass studio mentality: "If you want to send a message, call Western Union." To me, cinema is an aesthetic art form, so, if your ideas do not manifest themselves aesthetically, you should probably find another medium for them. 
4. While I was making Dim the Fluorescents, the one-two punch of seeing The Forbidden Room and Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton come out in the same year really energized me about the prospect of making films in English Canada today. That those filmmakers still struggle to get financing should be a source of national shame. Those films made me realize how few ideas most movies have by comparison, and they really emboldened me to be more ambitious in my own work. They both have such strong, clear and original ideas about all aspects of filmmaking, from their content to their ever-changing forms. And every visual and sonic decision is just perfect to me. Those movies fill the cinephile in me with such unabashed glee at their constant inventiveness from start to finish that I have trouble imagining anyone who loves cinema would not be greatly excited by them.
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Dan Browne
1. I'm currently working on a new film composed of an extended time-lapse of a window in my former apartment. I shot over 200,000 images over the course of 18 months with a DSLR, and it's taken me two years for me to fully enter the editing phase, so it's been going on for a long time now. The title is Palmerston Blvd and I am hoping to have it done very soon. I also just finished four new short films that are all brief sketches of different locations, all elaborating on the same form as Alberta (2014). I also made the trailer for this year's Images Festival, which is a condensation of their photo archive in honour of the festival's thirtieth anniversary.  
2. I have many projects that I haven't been able to finish, but the one that I worked on for the longest without finishing is a 14-hour video diary that I made between 2006-2009. A dream project I would love to make would be a feature length film composed of a time lapse from coast to coast across Canada.  
3. I think the Canadian film landscape is very strong in the 'experimental' (or whatever you want to call it) scene at the moment. There are many inspiring artists constantly making innovative and interesting work, as well as many organizations, collectives and festivals whose hearts are in the right place. I also think improvements in video streaming quality over the last decade have made it much easier to encounter interesting works, both new and old. What I would like to see more of, given the amount of work being produced and the relative ease of access, is greater critical engagement and response to the current generation of filmmakers. There are very few people writing about experimental film today and I would really like to see more critical writing, both academic and non-academic, that documents and helps preserve what is going on at the moment.  
4. I could give you a list of 100 Canadian films that have inspired me, but if I had to pick one it would probably be Jack Chambers' The Hart of London.
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Peter Mettler
1. Editing a documentary essay involving the ideas of David Abram, Becoming Animal, co-directing with Emma Davie. Developing a doc series about "the grass always being greener on the other side". Performing live visual mixes with a variety of artists, currently most significantly Yoshtoyoshto with Franz Treichler (musician, The Young Gods) and Jeremy Narby (anthropologist, The Cosmic Serpent).
2. It’s an ongoing challenge to get made and show what I love in the cinema arts. The ideas and inspirations for films far outnumber the reality of what I am able to actually get funding for and make. Thus my dream is to be perpetually making a film that witnesses life unfolding - using a series platform.
3. Mostly I’d like to see things that I wouldn’t expect. Original voices and visions as responses to the state of life today - not remakes and imitations of previous successes. Young and old filmmakers from different walks of life to be able to show insightful perspectives. 
4. That’s a bit like asking a parent to pick their favourite child. Canadian film and filmmakers have provided a major part of a culture and identity for me to grow up in. But here is a random pick from a vast collection of inspirations: Frank Cole’s Sahara crossing which lead to his own ultimate demise - A Life without Death.
***
Andrew Stanley
1. Season 2 of The Girlfriend Experience. 
2. I have an executive producer, a DP, an editor and an actor. I need a producer and some money. Email me at ajstanley88@gmail.com.
4. I really liked Kaz Radwanski's How Heavy This Hammer. That was cool.
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Natty Zavitz
1. Right now I'm in LA workshopping Acquainted, a feature I wrote that we're slated to shoot this July. Edging, my first feature is being submitted around to festivals and we're trying to sort out distribution. A pilot I'm working on with Edging star Shomari Downer is being polished and ready to pitch around. A couple scripts I wrote on spec that I wouldn't direct are floating around my friends inboxes waiting to get torn apart. 
2. The first script I ever wrote, and re-wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote was called Talk like a White Boy. We had a great director and some wonderful actors, but the script never got to the point where it was undeniable for funders. I'd like to think the public funding systems are a meritocracy and I'll chalk not getting to make White Boy to the script not being good enough. I've always felt there was a great series to be made about The Hudson's Bay Company, but the folks at Frontier got there first.  
3. I think 'Canadian' tends to lend itself in the public consciousness to rural stories and I would like stories about urbanism to be considered equally Canadian. To this point, I often feel more of a Torontonian filmmaker than a Canadian filmmaker. The Canada I live in is a collection of really different folks and I'm always shocked at Canadian films that don't reflect that diversity.  
4. Bruce McDonald's Trigger was beautifully written and executed. I admire the trust the filmmakers had that the relationship between friends can carry a movie.
***
Isiah Medina
1. An adaptation of Inventing the Future, and other cinema-related projects concurrently.   
2. All projects are completed and shown in time. QTY is a dream project in terms of thinking the Idea of cinema where cinema is not reducible to movies, but is rather a contingent material where cinema may happen.    
3. More buckets of popcorn, candy, and XXL refillable freestyle soda at rep screenings. More people taking out their phone to record the big screen (shooting from their chest as to not disturb anyone, and as long as their phone is on silent, and brightness is at the absolute minimum).  
4. A: May and December, 2 (Alexandre Galmard) and B: MAY AND DECEMBER, 2 (Alexandre Galmard). in Ontario.
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Kurt Walker
1. I’m currently working on completing my new movie S01E03. 
2. It’s one project at a time for me, and I can typically only figure the next project upon completion of the current. That said, I love melodrama and would really like to work and collaborate in this form one day… if on a slightly larger scale than my films thus far. 
3. Risk. Which is not to say we don’t have any… but yeah I think more risk is needed at all levels: programming, distribution, production (grants/private funding), and filmmaking.
4. Joyce Wieland’s Birds at Sunrise. More recently: Ashley Mckenzie’s Werewolf, Isiah Medina’s 88:88, and Olivier Godin’s Les arts de la parole.
***
Justin Decloux
1. I'm finishing up post-production on feature called Impossible Horror. It's a Japanese style horror nightmare about the creative process. If my previous feature splatter comedy Teddy Bomb was made for my hyper active teenage self, Impossible Horror is for an older version of me that can handle slower cinema, but still likes a little gore thrown in for good measure.  
2. Every one of my feature films have come out of the frustrations of not being able to make a previous project. I have about half a dozen scripts I've written in multiple genres that I'm itching to put to camera, but something has come up every time that has kept me from working on them, so I had to whip up a new idea in a feverish rush to be able to film something. This was the case for Teddy Bomb and Impossible Horror – two ideas born out of projects being unexpectedly cancelled. If I had to pick one big dream project I could make without any budgetary restraints, it would a World War One action/adventure film in the mold of The Dirty Dozen from a Canadian perspective. 
3. Passionate films coming from a personal perspective – a rote answer – but one that I believe in absolutely. 
4. I love the career of Paul Donovan. He made interesting low budget genre films on a budget, and it’s a real shame that none of his stuff available on DVD in North America. His film Self-Defense (a.k.a. Siege) is a great little thriller, Torpedoed is a weird Robert Atlman-esque tale on a submarine, and Paint Cans is a skewering of the Canadian Film Industry. Check him out!
***
Neil Bahadur

1. I’ve about three projects I’m working on in various stages of prep - the most likely to happen next is a kind of remake of a thirties von Stroheim picture called Hello, Sister! but as I get farther ahead in writing it, it takes on its own life. But I hope to make that in Toronto, and it’s feasible. Then there's something else I’m working on about aesthetics and simulations, and something else I’m very excited about but is far from feasible at the moment... formally it’s a bit like Intolerance, with intersecting narratives but where the only link is thematic.  But the themes are maybe a bit inspired by the Star Wars prequels! I have been thinking about something Lucas did within the third episode of the films - Anakin’s narrative and the political trajectory within the story intersect, so when political acts take place, we do not view them objectively but have emotional consequences as a viewer because of the responding narrative. To stage this in the vein of Intolerance’s montage could be quite exciting - it’s something I’ve worked quite hard on for the last several months but multiple narratives mean lots of actors, which means money. But I will make it before I’m thirty. The title of that is This is Democracy!   
2. My first and only complete film, From Nine to Nine, has not yet been screened because of the copyright restrictions of the traditional festival circuit.  OR - because simply no one wishes to play it.  Which is fine - it will be appearing online soon. My ‘dream’ project so to speak is about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway - it would perhaps be a bit like The Iron Horse turned Heaven’s Gate turned Rossellini History film. Again there would be multiple narratives - the executives and bureaucrats with competing propositions for routing but meanwhile there is North-West rebellion, with the uprising of the Metis and Louis Riel. But there’s also a focus on navigation and the work of the engineers - but again with that, there is of course the many immigrants who did what was essentially grunt work - primarily the Chinese workers who were hired by government contractors in China, who would only make approximately $16 after over two months of work - and who, if they died - their families would not receive any compensation, nor notification of their passing. If they survived, it was rare for any of them to even have enough money to return to their home country. It would be a huge film - seven or eight hours long - and I’ll make it one day. My only other real dream film would to remake my first film, From Nine to Nine, when I’m like 80. If we’re all alive by then!  Just to see what’s different.  
3. Hard to say - I often dislike the idea of “Canadian” films, “American” films, etc.  I reject that as nationalist.  I can only answer this in terms of what I would like to see in a cinematic landscape - and that would probably be the same a personal or political landscape!  I’d like merely for people to be aware of the implications they create following their actions, (rather than non-action!) and be aware that the same person who calls for ‘diversity’, or so-on - that the person or being who cries for change can be the biggest blockade towards it. Did you ever see that interview with Rossellini from the early 60’s, where he says “Stop complaining!” Actually that’s it - OK, what I want from a Canadian film landscape is less whining and more action.  
4. Isiah Medina’s 88:88. Also very inspiring to me of late is Michael Snow’s Corpus Callosum. And technically Resident Evil Retribution is a Canadian film.  
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Nate Wilson

 1. Trying to make that big jump from shorts to features, and just doubling down on writing. I used to make at least one short per year, but telling longer stories is a completely different discipline, especially when you’re so used to  the quicker gratification of completing something and making it as direct as possible (a short film). I produced and co-wrote a feature with Justin Decloux and Emily Milling that we're just finishing up, which was an amazing experience I'd never want to recreate. I'm glad to be finished, I'm a bad producer, don’t let me produce your no-budget movie. 
2. I tried to start up a feature that would  be shot incrementally over the course of a year. It would be about a young couple that begin to experience time at different rates. I planned on editing and writing it as naturally as possible, all along the way, but if you don’t have a budget or the financial stability for yourself and your friends to just shoot and shoot and shoot, then its almost more useful to have as concrete plan as possible.The minute something went very wrong my ‘natural’ process just completely fell apart (sorry MJ). 
3. Less pressure on filmmakers to make their movies in conventional ways. There’s a judgemental standard to do things a certain way, any crew smaller than 10 people is looked down on as unprofessional in the eyes of  the industry. There’s so little money going around to smaller projects, it feels like our industry relies on 30-second commercial crews having to slum it working on low-budget features as a favour. 
4. Winter Kept us Warm blew me away recently, as well as Bruce Labruce’s first feature No Skin Off My Ass which is a super neat art-porno version of Robert Altman’s underrated That Cold Day in the Park (which itself actually takes place in Vancouver!). A lot of great  Queer cinema seems to have squeezed through the cracks of Canada over time. Canadian Film has always seemed so small to me, but there’s a cool insular quality about that, like a feeling that filmmakers are all aware of each other and reacting to each other. The movie Things is also a big influence on me, that movie’s a living organism.