Culture & Conversation

A Candid Look at WFF

The 33rd Edition of the World Film Festival having drawn to a close, local director Geoff Uloth provides an honest look at the fest from the perspective of someone with an awful lot invested in it – a rising filmmaker.

The 38-year-old lays it all out, from the experience of debuting his film, Among Friends, on home turf to the harsh realities of being a maker of short films … and the one big (and surprising) difference between our celebration of the silver screen and the Toronto International Film Fest.

Rover: What is the plot of Among Friends?

Uloth: It is about three couples who get together for a dinner party. The couple hosting the party announces their engagement … and suggest that to celebrate and bring them all closer together, they all have sex with one another.

What was the inspiration behind the film – Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice?

My girlfriend, who is also the co-producer and one of the lead actors in it, Nicole Braber … it was originally her idea. Which is weird – I directed my girlfriend in a swinger idea she had!

What was it like interacting with the WFF organizers once you were accepted?

I’ve been to festivals all over the world with previous films and I’ve been to – in my mind – just about the greatest festival there is: the Toronto Film Festival. When you go there as a filmmaker, even a short filmmaker, you have people who are assigned to take care of you and to help you find interviews and parties and contacts and that sort of stuff. That doesn’t happen at the Montreal Film Festival.

In what ways do you feel the Montreal festival should aspire more to the Toronto fest?

I would focus on the filmmakers as much as possible because the festival’s reputation spreads through them. Just to give you an idea – and not to say the WFF is bad, I’ve had a great experience with them – but the experience of Toronto, both times I’ve been there, was stellar and the reason is the attention to detail they have. They actually call me, send me emails: “There’s a dinner with Guy Madden tonight, you’re invited if you want to come.” You get a sense of community, and you’re not this faceless, one-of-two-hundred filmmakers who show up to the festival and get your pass and that’s the last you hear of anybody from the festival. It’s much more hands-on inclusive and because of that you really get a rich experience out of the festival. I think Montreal could work on that a little bit, because … you’re sort of left to your own devices.

Favourite memory from this year’s WFF …?

So far the most memorable moment for me was our premiere. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but it was great to be able to screen the film for the first time at a home festival with friends and family, cast and crew. Although we had some technical problems with the projection that could have been avoided with a prior screen-test, it was still a night to remember and everyone went out for drinks afterwards, compliments of our two producers, Nicole Braber and Barbara Campbell.

You mentioned you are moving away from short films – what’s next?

I’m in development right now on a thriller/horror film called Dead Tired … I also have a short film that screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006, called The Ecstasy Note. I received development to turn that into a feature film.

Those interested in a glimpse at the trailer for Among Friends should pop on over to Evergon Arts.

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