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Victoria Film Festival Interview: GRANNY POWER director Jocelyne Clarke

by Jason Whyte

"GRANNY POWER is a feature documentary about the Raging Grannies, an organization of funny, creative, courageous and hip older women all over the world who use song and satire to promote peace, social justice and environmental awareness. People of all ages can relate to the irreverent, opinionated characters in Granny Power; they are our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters, the wise ones. And while their actions may be humorous, they are deadly serious in fighting for the kind of world we want." Director Jocelyne Clarke on her film GRANNY POWER which screens at the 2015 Victoria Film Festival.

Tell me a bit about your background and what led you into movies and film festivals.

I have worked in the film industry since 1990 as a producer, director, programmer, teacher, researcher and editor. I love documentary because it allows me to explore many issues and subjects, to engage with people intensely during the filmmaking process, to express a point of view and contribute to democratic debate, and not least, to engage in a creative process. GRANNY POWER is co-directed with my late husband Magnus Isacsson, a well-known documentary filmmaker who initiated this project and who died while it was still in production.

How did this whole project come together from your perspective?

I worked closely with my late husband, documentary filmmaker Magnus Isacsson, on this film for 2 years. When he died, I took over as director, doing a final shoot at the Grannies 25th anniversary Unconvention in Victoria, and using that event as a thread to bring together the various stories and events Magnus had filmed over a previous six year period.

What was the biggest challenge in making the film? And the most rewarding moment?

As you can probably imagine, keeping the flame alive after Magnus passed was definitely the biggest challenge, the most rewarding being watching the finished film in the company of 100+ raging grannies at the avant-premiere we had in Montreal, where they held their bi-annual Unconvention in 2014.

What keeps you going while making a movie? How much coffee?

Not really coffee but more the creative process itself and the possibility that whatever film I am making will be enjoyed and will make a difference in the lives of the people it reaches.

I would love to know about the technical side of the film, your relationship to the director of photography, what the movie was shot on and why it was decided to be filmed this way.

Most of the filming of Granny Power was done by an amazing cinematographer, Martin Duckworth, also a great director in his own right. It so happens also that Martin is the son of one of Granny Power's main characters, Muriel Duckworth. It was mainly shot in verite style, which is what Martin excels at, as he as an unerring sense of where to point his camera in most situations and even the most complex. The film was shot over 8 years; the very earliest shoots were on DV, then HDV and finally on digital cards.

What are you looking forward to the most about having your screening in Victoria?

I won't be there, but the Victoria Raging Grannies will be out in force and my associate producer, Tobi Elliott, who lives on Gabriola Island, will come to Victoria for the screening. I submitted Granny Power to the Victoria Film Festival in the hope that it would premiere there, the birthplace of the Raging Grannies back in 1987.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film in a cinema?

I generally can't abide people who talk during a screening as films are very dense mixes of images, sounds and meanings, and talking is a distraction; though I do recognize that film-watching might be a different kind of experience in other parts of the world. If the film doesn't speak to you, then probably best to leave and do your chatting elsewhere.

There are a lot filmmakers, especially up-and-comers, reading our site. I was curious if you had any advice to aspiring filmmakers?

Passion, commitment, perseverance.

For additional information on the Victoria Film Festival including screening times, ticketing information and other events happening around the city in the next ten days, point your browser to

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @jasonwhyte for live updates throughout the fest including Instagram updates, commentary and links to upcoming interviews and coverage. If you see me in line, please say hi!

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 02/16/15 04:39:44
last updated: 02/16/15 04:40:45
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