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Victoria Film Festival 2011 Interview - "Cascadia" director Jim Knox

Cascadia - At Victoria Film Festival
by Jason Whyte

"Cascadia" is about a sleazy water deal that capsizes on the rocky marriage of a broke hydrologist. Dougie Taylor(Chris Mackie) is hired to study a pristine watershed for potential purchase by the city. The lush beauty of the rainforest plays against the industrial wasteland of Dougieís marriage, where debt has eaten away all but the surface signs of love and trust. Desperate to measure his wifeís fidelity in the same way he does the natural resources in the world around him, Dougieís moral compass begins to spin." Director Jim Knox on his film "Cascadia", which screens at this year's Victoria Film Festival.

Is this your first film at the Victoria Film Festival?

My short "The Petalers" played at the Victoria Film Festival in 2006.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, and what led you to the industry.

I started out with an interest in writing, wrote fiction in the graduate creative writing program at Concordia University, then returned to my home province where I got interested in screenwriting. I then joined CineVic in 1997 and caught the filmmaking bug.

How did this whole project come together?

The process was a very organic development based on the resources available in my community. I almost always begin with the actors I want to work with, who I know are committed to the process and available to rehearse and create in Victoria. Then I begin to build the film according to the locations and opportunities I have available, itís a bit of a Ďreverse-engineeringí approach, but itís an effective way not to be limited by the need for funding. What I did differently this time was attach key-collaborators early on, my co-producer Robyn Unwin, and my co-director Joe McCoy, who were really essential in making sure the producing didnít suffer when I was consumed by the directing, and vice-versa.

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

I have worked with cinematographer Dan Carruthers before, heís a former student of mine from film school. We shot on a Panasonic 720p camera that became available through the fantastic support of Cinevic. The most exciting part of the camera package was the 35 mm lens adaptor, which allowed the really cinematic depth-of-field that is such a strong part of the film.

Out of the entire production, what was the most difficult aspect of making this film? Also, what was the most pleasurable moment?

The most challenging part was actually the same thing, the 35mm lenses and the challenge of keeping focus on a clear HD image. The most pleasurable moment was probably early in the first day, which happened to be a live parade going on behind the actors. It was sunny and warm and when we first started to hit our stride it was bigger than anything Iíd ever tried before and it was working.

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world? Did you have any direct inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

My biggest inspirations are writers who evolve into directors, and definitely one guy whoís films Iíve felt a kinship to throughout the development of this project is John Sayles.

How has the film been received at other festivals or screenings? Do you have any interesting stories about how this film has screened before? What do you think you will expect at the filmís screenings at Victoria?

"Cascadia" had itís World Premiere at the Blue Planet Environmental Film Festival in Santa Monica, California. Iím expecting a big turn-out from this screening; the community support through the whole process has been fantastic.

If you werenít making movies, what other line or work do you feel youíd be in?

Iíd be involved in narrative in some way if there werenít moving pictures, maybe an amateur cartoonist.

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

I think the critical and media response is immensely important; it basically becomes the truth of the film, controlling how many people see it and what people think of it.

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

Iíve never been to the Bell Lightbox, but I would like to think itís an extraordinary theatre experience. The Odeon in my hometown is pretty great too, although itís nerve-wrecking to not know what your film looks like on that big of a screen.

If you could offer a nickelís worth of free advice to someone who wanted to make movies, what nuggets of wisdom would you offer?

Get out and make stuff. Big or small, good or bad, the magic is in the making.

What do you love the most about film and the filmmaking business?

Someone said once, "Art is the axe for the frozen ice of the soul"; thatís what I love most about filmmaking. I donít know anything about the business.

What would you do or say to someone who is talking or being disruptive during a movie?

I would try and ask them politely to hatch their wordholes.

A question that is easy for some but not for others and always gets a different response: what is your favourite film of all time?

My favourite film of all time is "One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest".

"Cascadia" screens on Sunday, February 6th, 7pm at the Odeon.

This is one of the official selections in this yearís Victoria Film Festival lineup. For more information on films screening at this yearís fest, showtimes, updates and other general info, point your browser to

Be sure to follow instant happenings of VFF í11 on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a Tweetphoto or two. #vicfilmfestival is the official hashtag.

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 02/07/11 04:44:58
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