DGC ONTARIO CREATIVES ON HOW IT FEELS TO BE BACK AT TIFF

The 2022 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8-18. To celebrate, we talk to some of the DGC Ontario Editors, Directors, and Production Designers behind 13 of the festival’s hottest films! Find out what they’re most proud of about their work on these exciting productions and how it feels to see them play on the big screen in front of an audience again.

The Whale

The Whale

Supervising Sound Editor Jill Purdy

How does it feel to be screening The Whale at TIFF this year?

It feels wonderful to be back in theatres at TIFF this year! This especially resonates with me, as my most recent TIFF experience was 2017’s mother!, the last Aronofsky film that I worked on.

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

The subtleties of the soundscape were carefully crafted to enhance the nuances of this character-driven story of self-acceptance, redemption and optimism. I’m so excited to experience The Whale with an audience.

Women Talking

Picture Editor Chris Donaldson

How does it feel to be screening Women Talking at TIFF this year?

TIFF has been integral to my life in film; as an Editor and as a viewer. I can’t wait for the lights to go down and for Women Talking to roll in a cinema full of people. The collective experience of film is absolutely integral, and I can’t think of a better movie for a room full of strangers to shareIn my career as an Editor, there are very few things as close to my heart as the experience of editing Women Talking. For the journey that all of us shared to result in a film of such power and beauty is one of the great privileges of my life. To have the opportunity to screen at TIFF and share the film with my family, my colleagues, and my city is tremendously exciting. 

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

It’s impossible to single out a most. Editing Women Talking was the creative challenge of my life. I put everything I know about editing and being a human into it, hoping to rise to the level of the extraordinary contributions of the entire cast, crew, and Director Sarah Polley. Especially Sarah; an incredible artist, creative spirit and collaborator who inspires you to do work you’ve only hoped you are capable of. 

Production Designer Peter Cosco

How does it feel to be screening Women Talking at TIFF this year?

It’s great that Women Talking will be screened in a theatres at TIFF because that is how it’s meant to be seen. The film is shot in a very wide aspect ratio that was often used for Westerns in the 50s and 60s. Because of the way of life on the colony depicted and the film’s setting, in a way, it is like a Western focused on the women of the community. This wide aspect ratio allowed Director Sarah Polley to not only capture gorgeous vistas, but also to literally expand the scope and range of the film. It’s not just about what’s happening to the eight women in the hayloft – the issues discussed resonate throughout society and transverse cultures.

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

At first glance, depicting a society where living plainly and simply are considered virtues might seem that the sets, by necessity, would have to be uninteresting. But upon further research, it became evident that there were many sticking features within these highly regimented environments. In such a conformist culture, certain colours were used over and over, and specific types of furniture kept reappearing. A preference for simple building materials and construction methods became evident. What initially seemed like plain interiors were, in fact, a rich tableaux made up of handcrafted artifacts and clever solutions to their self-imposed restrictions. Depicting this society honestly and respectfully was our goal. Beyond the domestic interiors, laying out the colony by creating roads, multiple structures, and various crop fields was another unique creative challenge. We were fortunate to have a beautiful location and a great farmer to work with there. And at the heart of the story is the hayloft where the women meet. The barn on location needed extensive structural modifications, and to create the hayloft in the studio, the barn had to be rebuilt in its entirety. Sometimes the biggest creative challenge is to show the required restraint to properly service the script.

In truth, what I’m proudest of is having the privilege to work with Sarah Polley. Her brilliance is indisputable. She literally has the ability to make magic happen. There is no one else like her.

Click here for a complete list of DGC Members who worked on Women Talking.

Brother

Brother Clement Virgo Film TIFF Publicity H 2022

Director Clement Virgo

How does it feel to be screening Brother at TIFF this year?

My very first short screened at TIFF in 1993, and my first feature at TIFF in 1995. I am honoured and humbled to be showing another film at TIFF. I’ve had a long relationship with the festival, and I’m excited to be presenting the world premiere of Brother in a theatre to one of the best audiences in the world.

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

I am most proud of being able to assemble the cast and crew that helped us realize this movie. From the AD department to the Production Design team to the Editor, I am proud of being able to showcase the enormous talent that I have collaborated with throughout the journey of this film.

Click here for a complete list of DGC Members who worked on Brother.

Alice, Darling

Production Designer Jennifer Morden

How does it feel to be screening Alice, Darling at TIFF this year? 

I am feeling really excited to see our work on the big screen, and it means so much more when you get to experience other people’s emotions around you in the theatre. This story is raw and hits close to home. The way these women came together under Mary Nighy’s Direction is special, and our team did a beautiful job at shaping the space they got to live in. I am so excited to share it with the world!

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

Alice, Darling was a true labour of love – we lived together for 3 months to make this film in a small town in Ontario and worked hard with the community to depict a version of ‘cottaging’ that felt true to our life experiences.

Click here for a complete list of DGC Members who worked on Alice, Darling

When Morning Comes

Director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall 

How does it feel to be screening When Morning Comes at TIFF this year?

Every day since I’ve received the news, it feels like I’ve felt a different emotion, from nervousness to excitement. My short Black Bodies premiered and screened at TIFF and Sundance during the pandemic, so as exciting as that experience was, I didn’t get to watch it on the big screen. I know for me, the most special thing with When Morning Comes is that feeling of sharing it with audiences. 

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

When Morning Comes is the hardest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever made. Being able to go home to Jamaica and make a film about a theme that is so personal to me, my love letter to Jamaica and my love letter to my family’s sacrifice, and then to have its premiere at such a prestigious film festival makes me beam with pride. This is also a film for my community and the countless immigrants in Canada and around the world. 

I Like Movies

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Picture Editor Simone Smith

How does it feel to be screening I Like Movies at TIFF this year?

I’m thrilled to be able to watch I Like Movies with the TIFF crowd. Due to COVID regulations, the largest audience that the film has screened to was about 8 people during a test screening last summer. Especially with comedy, nothing beats a full house laughing together and sharing that experience. I think a lot of people are going to relate to this film, especially with its specificity about growing up in Ontario and dreaming of being an internationally successful filmmaker (which was most of us at some point, right?)

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

I’m so proud of how the whole film turned out overall! I think a lot of that comes from myself and the Director, Chandler Levack, always staying true to what we wanted and being firm in our vision. When I first read the script, I felt like I truly understood this film, and I think it helped that we were always very aligned on the tone and story. Over the course of an edit, you end up watching a film what feels like a million times, but I still find myself laughing and charmed by I Like Movies.

Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on I Like Movies.

This Place

thisplace 01

Picture Editor Maureen Grant

How does it feel to be screening This Place at TIFF this year?

It feels like a return to what we love about cinema – you just can’t replace the experience of seeing a film with an audience. It’s especially exciting to have This Place premiere at TIFF because it’s a Toronto story, and so many friends and family will be there to celebrate.

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

I’m so proud to have been part of this unique queer love story; I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it that explores the characters’ complex stories within their romantic relationship. Crafting characters through the most minute of details is a process I love and that I think I bring a strong emotional sensibility to. It means a lot to be trusted to be part of this process, and Director V.T. Nayani is an amazing collaborator. This experience encapsulated for me why we do what we do – to tell stories with impact and emotion, and to build meaningful creative friendships along the way.

Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on This Place.

High School (Post Only)

Picture Editor Roderick Deogrades

How does it feel to be screening High School at TIFF this year?

I am very thrilled for the show to have TIFF as its world premiere. I’ve had feature films I’ve worked on screen at TIFF in the past. But to have a TV series premiere here feels very special and gratifying. And to have the opportunity to watch a show intended for television in a theatre with a large audience will definitely be surreal! We are all very excited for everyone to see it on the big screen! 

What are you most proud of about your work on this series?

Surprisingly, this is the first show I’ve worked on since the lockdown where the whole editorial process was entirely remote, with the Showrunners, Directors and the rest of the Editorial team in various locations across Canada and the US. Despite this, it never felt like the show suffered creatively. We found a system that kept us all closely connected and created a collaborative space necessary to make the best possible show we could. I am very proud of our entire post-production team.

Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on High School.

ROSIE

Director Gail Maurice

How does it feel to be screening ROSIE at TIFF this year?

As the Writer, Director and Producer of ROSIE, I’m beyond thrilled to be selected for our World Premiere at TIFF!

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

It was a huge feat making my first feature film during COVID, but I had an amazing cast and a lot of support from the Indigenous crew on set.

Click here for a complete list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on ROSIE.

Soft (previously announced as Pussy)

Production Designer Dialla Kawar

How does it feel to be screening Soft at TIFF this year?

There is nothing quite like the collective viewing experience of a theatre full of movie lovers. It’s definitely a rewarding experience being able to share all the love and hard work that went into this with everyone in person. It’s very exciting to be back screening it at this year’s TIFF. 

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

This movie was a major labour of love. Being part of the Talent to Watch micro budget program, the budget was tight, and the crew was small. Despite our constraints, we were able to create sets that I’m really proud of. I had a lot of fun playing in the characters’ worlds to make spaces that felt true but also, at times, a little dreamy. I hope you all enjoy the world of Soft!

Click here for a complete list of the DGC Ontario Members who worked on Soft.

Concrete Valley

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Picture Editor Lindsay Allikas

How does it feel to be screening Concrete Valley at TIFF this year?

It feels great knowing that all the hard work, passion and love that’s gone into making this film will actually get the chance to screen in front of an audience. The film itself deals with issues of connection and community, both of which are a huge part of the festival experience. 

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

This film is very special to me because I’ve been friends with Director Antoine Bourges since film school. He usually edits his own films, so when he asked me to work on this project, I was very touched and honoured, and of course, wondered what took him so long to finally ask! He has a clear and specific vision, and the boundaries to work within are very defined. Part of my responsibility was to still push and challenge him outside of his comfort zone without compromising his voice in the process. Concrete Valley is a major leap forward in his filmmaking. I feel so incredibly proud of him, and that I was able to be part of it. 

Click here for a list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on Concrete Valley.

The Swearing Jar

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Director Lindsay Mackay

How does it feel to be screening The Swearing Jar at TIFF this year?

I think the only way to answer that is… IT FEELS INCREDIBLE! I really enjoy seeing movies in the theatre with a crowd! In fact, I often do it solo – I love being surrounded by strangers and feeling their energy in the room. It’s one of the simple pleasures in my life. So to be able to return to theatres for this year’s TIFF will not only be amazing for me as a filmmaker with a project in the festival but also as a filmgoer. I’m so excited to be surrounded by film lovers and once again experience the energy they bring to the viewing experience.

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

I’m proud of everyone that came together to bring this project to life. It was a very challenging time to make a movie, and with the support of an incredible crew and amazing cast, we managed to pull off what almost seemed impossible at times. In terms of my work – I’m very proud of the performances! Everyone is really great in the film, and I was floored in particular by Adelaide Clemens. Her work ethic and dedication to the role were driving forces as we moved through the production of the film. I’m also particularly proud of the creative team. We worked hard to make this project stand apart – through production design, shot choice, editing, and sound design, we sought to build a unique world to support the narrative.

Click here for a complete list of DGC Ontario Members who worked on The Swearing Jar.

To Kill A Tiger

Picture Editor Mike Munn

How does it feel to be screening To Kill A Tiger at TIFF this year?

It’s an honour to be back at the festival. The most satisfying part of the process for me has always been sitting in a theatre full of people and hearing/watching them respond to the emotional rhythms we’ve spent many, many months crafting. The TIFF “hometown” screenings are always the most rewarding in this regard. After a few years of isolation and remote working, this communal experience of watching a story unfold together is such a tonic.

What are you most proud of about your work on this film?

To Kill a Tiger was literally years in the making. It involved roughly two thousand hours of footage exploring the complexities of masculinity in modern-day India. Through the editing process, we eventually realized this massive story was, in fact, two separate feature films. Once we came to terms with this fact (discarding hours of cut scenes), we were able to focus on the more intimate story of rice farmer Ranjit and his struggle to get justice for his daughter, the victim of a gang rape. I’m proud that Ranjit, his daughter and his family, feel that we’ve respectfully and accurately portrayed their story and that this film may, in some small way, help to create change in the lives of Indian girls and women.

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