Edwards recently directed a new short film called I See You and Me. We had the opportunity to speak with the him about his future as a filmmaker.
NE: One of my biggest hopes for I See You and Me is to take it to multiple festivals but primarily to TIFF for 2014. I just came back from having a film that I produced, screen there in the Short Cuts category and I'm hoping to use it more as a calling card for the next project. I See You and Me was a faculty/student advanced project that we worked on for months developing the story. It really was a learning tool for me to apply certain stylistic principles which I'm hoping to put towards a feature film that I'm developing this year.
In terms of the actual film, it's more of an introduction to a conversation because I feel like it's really hard to try to gauge where you're going to go in the next five or ten years; doing this or making this kind of film. It's all just the next step. As much as we all like to think we make a film and then it's done, it's all about the marathon: Filmmaking is like a marathon so we have to be constantly thinking about the next project. I See You and Me will hopefully be a steppingstone into the next project.
tV: How has your experience at TIFF influenced this process?
NE: We accumulated quite a number of contacts for people we met face-to-face. We had a couple of great interviews and made connections with people from the CFC (Canadian Film Commission) and the NSI (National Screen Institute) so we're more than a name on a business card now; we're a face that people will remember. Whistler Film Festival is a also very big and I'm hopeful for VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival) because it's always nice to have a hometown screening to show local talent, but sometimes the cards don't always fall that way.
Somebody once told me that you need to get out of your hometown to get recognition and then come back with that claim. For me that was the standpoint with Foreclosure.
tV: Will your feature be a Canadian project?
NE: I will definitely be making that a Canadian project. I'm working with one of my faculty mentors right now on the development of a feature script, which is set in British Columbia, shadowing him on what it's like to build a feature in present day. We see features being made now, in some terrible cases, in eleven days. On the more independent route it's more like 22 to 30 days. I'm trying to think about that kind of model where I can pick up all the people that I usually work with, and do it right.
I am very fortunate to have a great team of guys who are all in the same boat and have all told me they want to take those first steps with me. This has been the general theme; associating myself with like-minded individuals or people who are just above me and hopefully from that, evolving into the feature market.
When you make your first short film it's always an experiment on where it's going to go. We see short films made all the time of all calibres and genres, so we're pretty familiar with that, at least I'd like to think we are (laughs). We've see the feature model in development a little bit, but we've never really seen production or what goes on behind production. I definitely see the first feature on the independent route. I'm planning on a couple of different financing structures such as Capilano University's launchpad fund or perhaps a micro budget from Telefilm, that kind of thing but I would never embark on a feature without actually seeing one being made first. If I have the opportunity to push my mentor or one of the faculty to apply this model to allow me to see how it's done, and then see how I can apply my own style to that, then I think I'll be ok.
tV: Can you talk a little about where you see the Canadian film industry headed?
NE: Coming up as a filmmaker in Vancouver it's always been very difficult to think about big grandiose concepts of where the film industry can go because unfortunately we're not the stakeholders, we're not the gatekeepers for that kind of decision.
I've always been plagued with this idea that the grass is always greener on the other side, whether that be in the United States or Toronto but Canadians are exceptional content creators. I think the models will change and I'd like to see it go more content based.
In terms of the Canadian model we definitely have to think about distribution and where we're going to be screening our films. I think we're moving towards stronger stories that require more intent and more development on the front end as opposed to the actual production. I saw some great films at TIFF this year that weren't the most cinematic, but the stories were very strong. That's nothing new for Canadians but I think we're on the next new wave where the younger generation is interested in getting back to philosophy and having conversations about it and becoming quite particular about what we are putting out there as filmmakers. When we do this, the content becomes that much stronger and important.