Welcome, 2016 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Residents!

By Margaret DeRosia ● July 13, 2016 02:40

The 2016 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Residents, pictured with Don Carmody

We are thrilled to introduce you to our 2016 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Residents! These residents join CFC’s longest-running program, which has shaped acclaimed alumni like Clement Virgo, Don McKellar, Semi Chellas, Damon D’Oliveira, Steve Hoban, Matthew Hannam, Miranda De Pencier, Vincenzo Natali, Brad Peyton, Christina Jennings and more.

This year’s group of directors, editors, producers and writers will spend over five months at the CFC collaborating and participating in more than 300 workshops, productions and meetings with international guests and mentors. They will enhance their already-considerable creative talents, gain solid collaborative and business skills and build long-lasting careers in the global entertainment market.

We asked each group what or who inspires them as filmmakers; read on for their responses and a chance to get to know them better.

Directors: What specific stories and/or type of story have you always wanted to tell onscreen?

Liz Cairns: I want to create work that is thoughtful and truthful, exploring themes of ongoing interest to me, including mortality, identity and the desire/alienation of youth. The feature film I will develop at the CFC, INEDIA, is a natural progression from my short film work, mining the thematic territory of the cult of self-improvement and desire for relief from the burden of existence.

Yassmina Karajah: Whether a film becomes a mirror to our most intimate selves or makes us face a side of the world we thought we would never see or understand, ultimately the stories I want to tell deal with the human condition. I'm interested in stories that reconstruct the idea of the ‘other’ and reveal the nuances of diasporic experiences.

Aaron Mirkin: I have always wanted to tell stories that make people ask questions.

Brendan Prost: My interest has always been telling stories that have detailed, realistic characters at the heart of them. For me, the genre or narrative form and the world that the film takes place in has always been secondary to how human the people at the centre of the world seem. So I get excited about all kinds of stories, from low-key family dramas, to adorable rom-coms, to high-concept horror movies – as long as they’re driven by detailed and believably rendered characters.

Haya Waseem: I wish to bring honest and intimate characters to the screen; characters that have lived before the film began, and will, in some way, continue to live after it ends. I hope to create a window onto someone's truth.

Editors - what film(s) do you wish you could have edited and why? 

Pauline Decroix: I wish I had edited the documentary Babies by Thomas Balmès. For me, it shows the essence of editing, of really putting together the magical moments, the worst and the nonsense to build a story! From a drama point of view, I have to say (and it might sound a bit "cliché), but I would have loved to edit Amèlie just for the pleasure of playing with the incredible material that Jean-Pierre Jeunet created, and putting together the beautiful music of Yann Tiersen with the images; that would have been really magical in the edit suite. Also, Boyhood: for the journey that it takes to build the story, to actually see the people grow older while you're getting older, and to have the pleasure of extracting the best. The list of films I would have loved to edit is long. I can't wait to grow the list of ones that I've loved editing.

James Patrick: Reqiuem for a Dream. Vanilla Sky. Wolf of Wall Street. The Big Short. Because hip-hop montage is the ultimate.

Gloria Tong: Shawshank Redemption stands the test of time with a well-crafted, thought-provoking story, as well as characters with incredible depth and subtle reveals that build to a satisfying emotional payoff. Requiem for a Dream: I love its editing style, beautiful visuals and score. The way all three combine creates such a strong emotional draw to the depressing stories and characters that's it’s hard to look away, which is a testament to its strong storytelling. Deadpool breaks the conventions of a typical superhero movie: a sassy anti-hero who breaks the fourth wall; a strong, equally sassy female lead character; excellent fight scenes with enough gore to add something extra but not overkill; and still be driven by a love story. The timing of the comedic moments is dead on, and the editing seamlessly transitions from past to present several times, which in itself is impressive.

James Tracey: Ever since the Wachowskis burst on to the cinematic scene two decades ago, I've been a fervent supporter of them. They've done some incredible work in editing in The Matrix and Cloud Atlas. But the work they did with Roger Barton and Zach Staenberg on Speed Racer is another level. The way the Grand Prix Climax is cut together illustrates what the phrase "movie magic" was meant to describe. If I could ever be a part of the editing of a film that has even half the imagination and ambition that Speed Racer has, I would consider myself one lucky editor.

Producers: What producer – dead or alive – changed the way you experience film? 

Emma Fleury: Robert Evans. Although he had a troubled personal life, he single-handedly changed the landscape of film in North America, turning the studio system on its head, self-producing and creating commercially viable films that continue to resonate with modern audiences.

Rebeka Herron: As a kid, one of my favourite films was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I was completely enamored with the stranded alien. I watched the movie on repeat, and carried my pink E.T. backpack everywhere I went. Its producer, Kathleen Kennedy, has been instrumental in producing not just blockbusters, but also generation-definers. She stands out as a producer who is driven, and has the creative imagination needed to be an award-winning producer.

Ali Mashayekhi: I never idealized producers growing up. I saw the role of a good producer as someone who created relevant, entertaining and financially successful films. In that light, I try to emulate those who can generate similarly consistent results. As an example, I think Ridley Scott is pretty great

Heidi Tan: Producers Brit Marling and Mike Cahill’s films Another Earth, Sound of My Voice and I Origins have shown me how science fiction is not limited to world-building, plot-driven films, but can also be used as a tool to tell character-driven stories.

Max Walker: I've always appreciated the work of Bob and Harvey Weinstein. They have done a wonderful job of creating a range of art that can be appreciated by different audiences. I believe they balance a myriad of genres under one production company, and that's a very difficult thing to accomplish.

Writers: Whose writing and/or which scripts or films truly inspired you to pursue screenwriting?

Clara Altimas: I'm drawn to voices that tell the simple truth. No glitz or glam, they just capture the happy, sad, hilarious and terrifying realities of everyday life. Nicole Holofcener is a favourite of mine. She nails it every time. Alexander Payne's direction of Bob Nelson's Nebraska is one of the best things I've seen in the last few years. But if I could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, it would be Louis CK.

Sabah Haider: Growing up and discovering cinema in the 90s gave me an affinity for counter-culture films, while I was also very active in theatre and playwriting. However, it wasn't until I started watching Latin American third cinema, while moving between several countries as an adult journalist, that I truly felt I understood the experience of living inside and outside the same place. This is when I realized my commitment to telling accented stories that enable us to reflect on the world through our own dispositions.

Michael Hanley: I think watching a Woody Allen film will inspire anyone to be a screenwriter. Manhattan didn’t just motivate me to move to New York; it changed the way I think about filmmaking.

Jesse Harley: Unbreakable is utter brilliance in its simplicity. I'm a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan's work before... he went to the dark side.

There you have it – the 2016 Cineplex Entertainment Film Residents. Stay tuned for more updates in upcoming CFC news posts!

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Margaret DeRosia

Communications Specialist/Digital Writer & Editor