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VIFF '09 Interview - Certainty director David Hauka

Certainty - At VIFF '09
by Jason Whyte

“Certainty is the joy and sorrow of life. Certainty weaves image and music and story to make you remember, make you laugh, make you cry. Certainty is intensely personal and ultimately universal. Certainty explores why we feel.” Director David Hauka on the film “Certainty” which screens at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.

Is this your first film in the VIFF? Do you have any other festival experience? Do you plan to attend VIFF for the screenings?

My first feature as a director, "Impolite," screened at TIFF and VIFF in 1992 and had a theatrical run in 1993. I was executive producer with Robert Lantos of "Whale Music" that opened both TIFF and VIFF in 1994. My short films screened at international festivals in the 1980's; "Solus," a 30 minute dance film made in 1994 that won multiple festivals including a Gold Plaque from the Chicago International Film Festival.

Could you give me a little look into your and what led you to the desire to want to make film?

A need to confront what I have been avoiding studiously in my early work: the emotion, the personal.

Growing up, you were no doubt asked the eternal question “When I grow up I want to be a …” Finish this sentence, please!

Astronaut, then astronomer, then Stanley Kubrick.

How did this project come to fruition? If you could, please provide me with a rundown, start to finish, from your involvement.

I started to research/develop "Certainty" in 2004 as part of my Masters of Fine Arts Degree at UBC; the original version of the film is my Master's Thesis. I had decided to return to an academic environment in order to rediscover why I entered the filmmaking fray in the first place. I seem to have forgotten why during my career doing production work. I also wanted to be in an environment to supported exploration that wasn't necessarily commercially driven. I found the creative support I required to undertake the project.

The version of “Certainty” now making the festival circuit rounds goes further on many levels from the original thesis film, diving deeper into difficult subjects. As well, the release version is highly polished on all levels including effects, titles and sound design.

What was the biggest challenge in the production of the movie, be it principal photography or post-production?

The creation of the screenplay; finding the heart to examine my own life and laying elements out for people to see was painful.

Tell me about the technical side of the film; your relation to the film’s cinematographer, what the film was shot on and why it was decided to be photographed this way.

I am the cinematographer, so we got along fairly well.

Talk a bit about the experiences (festival or non-festival) that you have had with the film. Have you had any interesting audience stories or questions that have arisen at screenings?

“Certainty” has only had one festival screening in advance of VIFF. This was as part of the Globians Film Festival in Berlin. I was knocked back by how the German and international audience were moved by the film; laughter, tears and during the Q&A.

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world (directors, actors, cinematographers, etc)? Did you have inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

Chris Marker is a big influence. Kubrick, of course, as well as Kurosawa and Chaplin.

If you weren’t in this profession, what other career do you think you would be interested in?

Astronomy, if I could master the math!

Please tell me some filmmakers or talent that you would love to work with, even if money was no object.

I'd like to work with Christopher Plummer again, Cate Blachett, Tilda Swinton and Keanu Reeves, of course.

How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?

It's the only way an audience will ever hear about “Certainty”, and the only way I might attract a sale.

If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?

Frankly, any theatre with an interested audience is fine with me.

What would you say to someone on the street to see your film instead of the latest blockbuster playing at the local megaplex?

I'd probably talk music. "Apocalyptica" is not your usual art-house band, so that might interest a megaplex film goer - as might Keating and Glass - and the surround sound and design is sweet! And then there's the film itself which ain't too shabby.

No doubt there are a lot of aspiring filmmakers at film festivals who are out there curious about making a film of their own. Do you have any advice that you could provide for those looking to get a start?

Same as the advice given me years ago that I just learned to heed; tell a story you know in your heart. And keep it simple, stupid!

And finally…what is your all time favourite motion picture, and why?

I don't have any one favorite…I have many. They are part of my memory and one might surface when the situation calls it up. So, I can't answer the question - sorry!

Be sure to follow instant happenings of VIFF on my Twitter at!

This is one of the many films playing at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. For more information on the film’s screenings, showtimes and update information, point your browser to – Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 10/12/09 18:48:12
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