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Victoria Film Festival 2011 Interview - "Primordial Ties" director Otto Buj

Primordial Ties - At Victoria Film Festival
by Jason Whyte

"The love story of a Father and the Daughter that he never had." Director Otto Buj on his film "Primordial Ties" which screens at this year's Victoria Film Festival.

Is this your first film at the Victoria Film Festival? Tell me about your festival experience, and if you plan to attend Victoria for the film’s screenings.

This is my second film at Victoria; first film, "The Eternal Present", was invited to the 2005 festival. At this point, I do plan on attending and introducing my screening at the 2011 festival.

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

Since 1991, I've been involved with the film industry as a programmer, writer, curator, theatre owner/operater, etc. It was only a matter of time that I would begin to make my own films as opposed to showing others.

How did this whole project come together?

Inspired by an obscure old Gene McDaniel's song "One Hundred Pounds of Clay" from 1962. It was originally started as an interim project between my first and what I expect to be my third film. Along the way, however, it happened to take a life on of its own, ending up as a fully-fleshed and rather complex feature.

Please 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 writer, producer, director, cinematographer, editor and sound designer. For me, all of those tasks are inseparable when realizing a vision. I shot on Super 16mm film, primarily for its incomparable rendering of colour and tone. The organic and tactile elements of the format were essential to the story. Shooting on video was a non-starter as far as I was concerned.

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

Finishing a project is always the most difficult. The final 2% of work required is as difficult as the first 98%. Editing was the most satisfying part of the project.

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?

No specific inspirations on this film or my working methods. However, comparisons have been made to Bresson, Kubrick, Roeg and Kenneth Anger, all of which are accurate to some extent.

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 film’s screenings at Victoria?

To be invited to Rotterdam is quite a feat for a Canadian film, especially for one that was invited on its own merits with NO politics or lobbying whatsoever from the typical Canadian public funding sources.

If you weren’t making movies, what other line or work do you feel you’d be in?


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

Always important, as unfortunate as that can be.

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

Midi-Minuit in Paris.

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

Check your ego at the door, because movies really don't matter.

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

Connecting with the audience on an intuitive, intangible level.

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

Two words: Shut the fuck up.

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?

A four-way tie: "Le Feu Follet" (Malle); "Performance" (Roeg/Cammell); "Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (Cassavetes) and "Winter Light" (Bergman).

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

Be sure to follow instant happenings of VFF ’11 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: 02/13/11 04:36:05
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