October 12, 2009

Carrie Villeneuve

The post-movie question-and-answer session is a bit of a crapshoot, relying on the personality of the film representative, usually the director, and the quality of the questions from the audience for it to be entirely interesting. The first 10 minutes always start as a film studies class, where the film students can ask their film questions: “What was your budget?”, “How many days did you shoot?”, and “I noticed a red scarf in many of the scenes. Can you maybe explain its significance?”, but at least one interesting story, film trick, or example of creativity emerge.

Warren P. Sonoda, director, and Erik Lunsky, screenwriter, Puck Hogs:

  • filmed in 10 consecutive days
  • both men were wearing hockey jerseys from the movie and they looked like a vaudeville comedy duo—Sonoda short, somewhat stocky, and chatty, and Lunsky tall, lanky, and quiet

Q (to Sonoda)-The game scenes were great. Were they difficult to shoot?

A-So when we auditioned the actors, we asked them, “Can you skate?” And everyone said, “Yes, yes, of course.” Great, so then we asked, “Do you have your own equipment, because we don’t have a lot of money.” “Oh, sure, ya, equipment.” So the first day of shooting, of course no one could actually skate except Jeff (Feddis, who played main character, Jeremy), and no one had his own equipment except Jeff and one other crew member. So we scrounged up some extra equipment, and spent two and half days shooting the hockey scenes, so if you think the hockey is believable, realistic, whatever, that’s a result of stellar editing, because I have no idea really, I don’t know anything about hockey.

Q (to Lunsky)-What inspired the rat-in-the-bag scene? (One of the funniest scenes of the movie, and from any comedy in general.)

A-I would like to say that there was a real-life story behind that and then I could tell you an interesting story, but I can’t, that just came from my head.

Lee Daniels, director, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire:

  • 30 days of shooting
  • there were no ‘egos’ on set: Mariah Carey helped with makeup, Mo’Nique served in craft services, everyone drove their own cars to set

Daniels preambled the film in a voice of melted chocolate: “It’s ok to laugh. We laughed making this. If you don’t laugh, you’ll go to some very dark places.” Afterwards he was articulate and thoughtful, repeating questions into the mike without being asked, and even rephrasing them so they sounded intelligent. I can't remember details because I was distracted by how nice and warm he sounded.

Robert McFalls, director, HomeGrown

  • this is McFalls’ first directing project; he started out as an editor and edited this film 
  • the film cost about $5000 to make

Q-The kids (who are now late 20s to early 30s) seem a bit, insular. Have any of them dated? Did they go to school?

A-They were all home-schooled by (their father) Jules, who was a teacher. What you see are the daughters managing the website, which Jordanne (the youngest) coded herself, so they are quite educated. But no, none are dating right now, but they all talk about moving away from the homestead, having their own families, although no one seems to have an idea of how to go about achieving that.

Vero Bollow, co-writer and co-director, and producer, The Wind and the Water:

  • this is the first feature fiction film from Panama
  • the Igar Yala Collective, a group of young filmmakers who partnered with Bollow for the movie, were completely collaborative: they posted the script around the production room and anyone could add and subtract from scenes until they were all satisfied; during the production, they each took turns directing, acting, set dressing, sometimes all in the same day

Q-How did you get involved with them (the Kuna and subsequently the Igar Yala Collective, young filmmakers who wrote and co-directed with Bollow)

A-I had been living in Panama for a few years, teaching classes on filmmaking to youth. And I got this class of mostly Kuna, and they were unlike any other students I’d had. In most classes, once students understood something, they would try to work ahead, but the Kuna, when the first students understood something, they would get up and go around the class making sure everyone else understood that one thing before we could continue.

(The process sounds like complete chaos to me, but the film is beautifully shot, and the story is coherent and engaging.)

Anne Dorval, actress, I Killed My Mother:

  • Xavier Dolan, who couldn’t attend, was 17 when he wrote the screenplay, and acted in, directed, and produced the movie; he's now 20
  • this movie has already won a number of awards and has just been selected to be Canada’s entry for the foreign-language category of the 2010 Oscars

Q-You’re quite a well-known actress in Quebec. What did you think when Xavier first approached you with the part?

A (in lovely, halting English)-At first, I was very surprised. He was so young. And (I was) impressed by his courage. But I didn't hesitate. When writing is good, (it) is good, no matter how young (the writer is).

October 12, 2009

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