Winter drags on, but when a young man stumbles upon the dynamic world of underground wrestling his life takes a turn, in this remarkably impressive exploration of self that pushes boundaries and blurs genre expectations.
Hi David thank you for talking to TNC, how are you held up during these very strange times?
Holding up alright, thanks! I was really lucky to wrap production on my new short film "Found Me" just days before everything shut down so I was about to keep busy editing that for the most part.
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration?
Totally. I went back to my hometown of Quebec City during much of the lock down and spending so much time with my family was super refreshing. Also, early on I had a hunch I should somehow organize what I would watch in order not to go nuts. So two friends and I started a little virtual film club. We set out to pick a filmmaker whose work we knew little of and go through their entire filmography, top to bottom, one film a day. And then we'd connect over zoom to talk about them every 3 or 4 days. Felt a little bit like film school again and made some really nice discoveries which were super inspiring!
Your latest short film Found Me is part of TIFF Short Cuts, what does it mean to have your film a part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
Feels surreal actually. The film is such an odd hybrid of short film and music video that I submitted thinking it was such a long shot. I actually didn't tell any of the crew or producers I had done it. Then I didn't find out until very recently so I had just figured it hadn't been selected. It was a nice surprise! Very eager to see the other films in the selection.
Does being selected for such prestigious festivals add any additional pressure on you?
Not really. It's one of those projects I'm so proud of that even if no one liked it I wouldn't really mind that much because the process of making it was so great and the outcome is what I set out to make.
Can you tell me a little bit about Found Me, what was the inspiration behind this film?
"Found Me" tells the story of Mitch whose life takes a turn after unwittingly stumbling upon the world of underground wrestling - all in the foggy, twilight, arctic, dead of winter of Quebec City. I myself discovered this community about 2 years ago and was astounded. I couldn't believe this existed in my town and the energy was so electric. I was totally taken. That was the beginning. Then I'd always known my friend Mitch could be such a good actor but he'd never done it before. I felt he, in that universe, could be really interesting. Then a year after that, a year ago, my favourite band Men I Trust released a new album on which I heard the song Found Me. I sort of became obsessed with it and that's where it all clicked.
"I guess this sort of taught me to really trust my instincts."
What was the most challenging part of making this film for you?
The biggest technical challenge was shooting the final wrestling scene. The extras were actual wrestling fans, and they were into it but their patience was limited...
Once a film is complete are you able to let it live its own life or are you always thinking 'I could/should have done this differently?
That's a good question. I like what Alfonso Cuaron says about his own movies. "My films are like my ex-wives. I love them very much, but we don't talk".
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
I started making skiing and snowboarding films as a kid. It was the only way to keep busy during the long winter. Back then it was all about being with friends all the time and making a film showcasing tricks to cool music. As I grew up my taste developed and I began watching a lot more films.
Filmmaking is so many things wrapped into one - all in an effort to convey an idea, an emotion and to create a connection. That’s what excites me about what I do.
How much has your style and the approach to your films changed since your debut film?
It's funny, when I started making the ski films as a teenager it was actually just a big great excuse to make something with friends that we all felt so passionate about. Then when I transitioned into narrative films suddenly I think I became a little bit goal-oriented if I'm being honest. And now in the last few years it really has all gotten back to being process driven. And I think when the focus is just as much on the approach and the way of making the film, as it is on the subject that's when you can get something really special that can surprise you. That love and that heart infuses the film itself.
"And I think when the focus is just as much on the approach and the way of making the film, as it is on the subject that's when you can get something really special that can surprise you."
Is there any advice you would offer someone about making their first film?
That's tough. There are so many ways to do it. I'd just say don't take no for an answer. Not getting a grant or funding should never mean the end of the line. Make a plan A, B, C, D and so on of how to make the film. Surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy and lastly put all your energy and resources towards casting -- that's the most important!
What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you've taken away from making Found Me?
This film was made really quickly and impetuously. I had had the idea gestating in my mind for so long and suddenly I wrote the script in 2 days and we were shooting 3 weeks later. I guess this sort of taught me to really trust my instincts. And while I don't think that will always be my method moving forward, I think there is something to be said for hanging on to original impulses and ideas and not overly re-writing and re-thinking them.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
I wanted to convey every person’s need to realize themselves - to reach their full transcendent self - however big, small, normal or bizarre their desire for self-expression may be - listening to that sense of truth that comes from within. Sometimes that "thing" isn't the thing we are looking for, but you need to let the world work in the mysterious ways in which it does and let it find you.