Give us a quick update on what you are working on now? Any upcoming projects or teasers?
The production company I co-own with R.W. Gray and Matt Rogers, Frictive Pictures, just had the world premiere of our latest short film, My Husband’s Jump, at the Silver Wave Film Festival in our hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick. It’s a film about the wife of an Olympic ski jumper who watches her husband soar into the air during a competition and, most peculiarly, he never lands. It’s a quirky story about wonder and believing in the unknown. We’re now submitting it to film festivals across the globe and keeping our fingers crossed that we get some good news over the next few months.
Back in May, Frictive Pictures was awarded a micro-budget grant from Telefilm Canada to make our first feature film, Entropic. It’s a haunting story about the ways beauty and objectification confine our lives and relationships with one another. I think it’s going to force a lot of audiences to face an uncomfortable truth in themselves. That’s something I love about film though – how you can inject those kinds of emotions into people. The project has been a huge undertaking but it’s something I feel all of our work in short films has been building to.
Have you come across anything new in filmmaking you want to share? Any new technologies, resources, sites etc.
I recently came across Steven Soderbergh’s new film experiment, Mosaic. It’s a smartphone app that’s structured as a television series but has a “choose your own adventure” angle to it. You follow the characters and storylines you’re intrigued by and, based on the decisions you make, everyone’s viewing experience is a bit different. It’s a really fascinating approach to narrative and how we create meaning as an audience member.
What is your favorite season to shoot in?
This is difficult for me. Every short film I’ve made has been loosely structured around the various seasons. Mirage was the summer, Hypothermia was the winter, The Beautifully Drowned was the spring, and my next short film, The Wonderful Future, will be influenced by the fall. I can’t pick a single one. I feel very fortunate to live in a place that experiences the full extent of each season (yes, even during our Canadian winters). It has served as a huge source of inspiration for me and given the films I’ve directed a backdrop to build upon.
Have you ever made an appearance in your own film?
Nothing beyond a 4-5 second cameo where I’m usually in the background or out of focus. I’m a terrible actor. Nobody should ever have to witness that.
Who is your favorite Director (aside from yourself)?
Shane Carruth, who directed Upstream Color and Primer, would probably be my top choice. I’m also really drawn to the work of Steve McQueen, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, and Yorgos Lanthimos. Amy Seimetz has also been doing some interesting work with her television series, The Girlfriend Experience.
What is your must see film for 2017 or coming in 2018?
I attended TIFF for the first time this year so I was able to see a lot of my most anticipated of 2017 there in September. On my list now are Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Florida Project, Happy End, Thelma, and a smaller independent film that comes out in a couple weeks titled Violent.
For 2018, Alex Garland’s new film, Annihilation, is at the top of my list. I loved the book it’s based on and was a big fan of his last film, Ex Machina. I’m holding onto hope that The Modern Ocean by Shane Carruth gets released then too.
What is your favorite genre of Film?
This changes a lot for me. Right now I’m really interested in science fiction. Usually only when it’s done on a small budget though. I love watching filmmakers build entire worlds through tiny details that don’t deviate too far from our own.
What advice do you give to up-and-coming indie filmmakers?
The best filmmaking advice I ever received came from my friend Ryan DeCourcey just a few hours before I began directing my first short film, Pesticide. We signed up to take part in Fredericton’s 48 Hour Film Competition and to immerse ourselves in inspiration we watched a number of favourite scenes – all of which came from independent or art house films. I confessed to Ryan that this approach to storytelling was where my heart was but I felt that, for this competition, we should probably make something more audience friendly. Ryan then said to me, “make the film you want, not the one you think you have to”. This radically altered my approach to that competition and has been key advice I reflect on with every film I make. It’s a small but defining moment for me and I believe that, without it, I wouldn’t be making films right now. Or I’d be making really terrible ones.
Check out the latest with Frictive Pictures and keep up to date on their upcoming projects.