Interview with Sarah Deakins, Filmmaker (Short Film GREECE)

I loved hearing all the different interpretations from the different audience members. Everyone comes to a screening with different backgrounds and history, and that all informs the way in which they receive and perceive a film; it was fascinating to me, and I thought everyone had very valuable things to say.

– Filmmaker Sarah Deakins, on the WILDsound Film Festival Experience (Review)

GREECE was awarded Best Performances at the April 2015 Film Festival.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of GREECE:

Matthew Toffolo interviews Director/Actress Sarah Deakins:

Matthew: What motivated you to make this film?

Sarah: I’m interested in how people connect when their mutual pasts are fraught. I wanted to create a situation where only one person could communicate, but had no idea if they were affecting the other. I wanted to visit the last moment of shared connection between these two people, even though they didn’t know it was happening; I thought that idea was particularly heartbreaking, and I wanted to bring it to life for an audience.

Matthew: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Sarah: Several years. I had several different producers come on board and then flake out, so it was particularly gratifying when Brightlight Pictures took it on.

Matthew: Talk about your cast: The performances were all exceptional, including your own. How did you find the mother actress and what type of rehearsals did you have?

Sarah: I knew I wanted to play the lead character, but finding the character of the mother was tricky; I had already shot the young version of her in Malibu, and needed to match that lovely actress with hazel eyes, which was not easy. Finally, the wonderful Yvonne Adalian answered a notice I had put up at PAL in Vancouver (Performing Arts Lodge, the housing for elderly actors set up by our wonderful union, ACTRA). She was perfect and I was so lucky to have found her. As for rehearsals, I rehearsed alone and in front of a camera to get the performance down exactly how I wanted it before we ever got onto set. I knew it so well; it was the least of my worries on that day!

Matthew: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Sarah: I think the challenge of finding the right fit of producers was the hardest part, but then it all fell into place. It was a bit challenging acting and not being able to watch playback, as the takes were too long and I would never have made my day if I had. I set up the shots with a double, then stepped in and did the monologue pretty much all the way through each time, and I just had to trust that we had it. Once we got to editing, it was clear that we did, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief!

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city and country?

Sarah: I now live in Toronto, and am just learning about the film scene here, but it has been very welcoming so far!

Matthew: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Sarah: I loved hearing all the different interpretations from the different audience members. Everyone comes to a screening with different backgrounds and history, and that all informs the way in which they receive and perceive a film; it was fascinating to me, and I thought everyone had very valuable things to say.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Sarah: I saw ET many times as a child, and When Harry Met Sally. I watched The Station Agent at least 4 times because I loved it so much and kept bringing it to people to make them watch it with me. Same with Grand Canyon, Broadcast News, and Magnolia. All films about people struggling to connect. That is what interests me the most as a storyteller and as an audience member.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Sarah: I am in development on a feature film that I wrote called, “Home Free”. Stay tuned!

    * * * * *

Deadline: FEEDBACK Toronto Film Festival:
http://www.wildsound.ca/submityourfilm.html

– FULL FEEDBACK on your film from the audience. Garner an audience feedback video on your film.

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