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2023 Outfest Fusion Festival

Outfest Fusion Festival 2023- Aron Kantor.png
Pizza Portal

After opening a portal to another dimension, two friends learn why they should probably stick to their own dimension’s pizza.


Hi Aron, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with The New Current, how has everything been going?


Thanks - I'm super proud of this new short film, and happy to start sharing it with the world.


You have had amazing experiences screening your work at international film festivals, do you remember what your first film festival experience was like?


I was lucky in that the first real festival I attended with a short film was Slamdance (in 2006), and that festival treated its filmmakers like a family, which is really the best kind of festival experience you can hope for. I emerged with a filmmaking community that I hadn't even realised I needed. Connecting with community quickly became a central goal of my festival experiences after that.


What does it mean to be able to have the World Premiere of Interdimensional Pizza Portal at the 2023 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival?


It's major for this film to be given the opportunity to premiere at Outfest Fusion. You always hope a short film is going to have an extensive festival run, but of course you want a film's first festival to feel special, and to be a good match for the film, and I think Outfest Fusion hits both those notes. They work hard to create an inclusive, community-centric event, and I couldn't be happier about connecting with audiences and other filmmakers there in the coming week.


Can you take me through how Interdimensional Pizza Portal came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?


I've made a handful of short films that lean towards musical and experimental genres, and I wanted to push myself to create something more like a traditional narrative, while still truthfully representing my voice as a filmmaker, which tends to be surreal, queer, and absurd. I've been low key obsessed with interdimensional portals for a while, especially in storytelling. I think they're inherently queer in multiple ways - finding magic through an orifice being the most obvious, but also they speak to the way queers have historically been at the forefront of psychedelic experimentation and use, seeking new perspectives, broadening our minds (which are already more open than those of the squares we routinely encounter in the default world), or else seeking escape from hostile environments. I knew I wanted to make a film with my lead actor, Grover Whitmore III, who's a magnetic and hilarious performer. So I started with the idea of an interdimensional portal being conjured, and imagined Grover standing in front of it, and the script kind of wrote itself in my head from that point. I think the story also speaks to the idea of "manifestation" and the dangers of speaking one's fears aloud, how one can unintentionally call into being the future one fears by dwelling on what one doesn't want.

"Even when paying homage to other filmmakers or artists, I want to make sure I'm still somehow uncovering new territory."

When working on a film like Interdimensional Pizza Portal how close do yo like to stick to you screenplay, do you allow yourself/cast much flexibility?


I workshopped the script with my actors Aliee Chan and Grover Whitmore III, asking them to riff and improvise. I wanted their characters to feel true to themselves, and was happy to have some moments in the film feel more natural thanks to them adjusting and playing with the script. They also both helped me push some of the more comedic moments in the film, to highlight the humour and absurdity. That said, there were often moments when I'd go back and ask them to read the lines as written when I felt like a line needed to be more succinct, or a sequence needed specific timing.


How important is it for you to continue to use your creative platform to make films that have at its core queer experience, lives, and characters?


Making queer-centric content feels vital, almost compulsive - I can't not tell queer stories. Primarily, I think queers are infinitely more interesting than straight people, but also I know queer experience intimately in ways I'll never know straight experience, so I feel more comfortable telling queer stories. I love seeing all the queer archetypes out in the world - I always want to know their stories, and love getting to know queers different from myself. I derive genuine pleasure from seeing atypical expressions of gender out in the world, seeing queer fashion and innovative presentations of self. I am so grateful to exist within queer communities, so of course I want my work to reflect those communities. I also think there's a tremendous amount of territory in queer storytelling that hasn't been uncovered, which excites me to explore. I'm always buzzing with inspiration about queer genre - fantasy, sci-fi, horror, etc - and stories that have nothing to do with the shame- or trauma-based storytelling we're so often handed in mainstream LGBTQ+ entertainment.


Do you think filmmakers need to continue to push the boundaries of the films they want to make?


I can only speak to personal experience. For me, innovation is the key to staying interested in storytelling. I don't want to repeat myself, and I don't want to repeat what others have done. Even when paying homage to other filmmakers or artists, I want to make sure I'm still somehow uncovering new territory. The key, as I mentioned above, is finding ways to innovate while staying true to my voice as an artist. In film school, I focused on experimental film, and I think the ethos of experimentation has always featured at the forefront of my process, including when making a more traditionally narrative film.


And finally, what message do you hope your audiences will take away from Interdimensional Pizza Portal?


Be careful what thoughts you dwell on or speak aloud, lest you manifest your worst fears into being! Worrying is futile at best, harmful at worst, and certainly a waste of energy. Of course these are easier said than done - I'm a terrible worrier, but I can always write stories or make films like this to remind myself of these lessons.

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