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SxSW 2015 Interview: Meet the team behind TURBO KID!

TURBO KID - At SxSW 2015
by Jason Whyte

"TURBO KID is a post-apocalyptic, comedic gore love story! It's like a Saturday morning cartoon from the 80's meeting Mad Max, but with BMXs instead of cars. It's like some lost crazy kids movie from an alternate 1980s that's somehow has just been rediscovered; so it has a genuine love story at it's core but it's set in a very violent world, with over the top gore. Yes it's as crazy and unique as it sounds!" The team behind TURBO KID which includes writer/directors Anouk Whissell, Francois Simard and Yoann-Karl Whistler, who all answer as force in this interview to support their film at the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival.

Is this your first SxSW/Austin experience and are you going to attend your screenings?

This is our first time ever in SxSW or even Austin, and we're definitely going to be there! Of course, we heard a great deal about SXSW and we're really excited to have the opportunity to finally experience this, and eat barbecue!

Tell me a bit about your backgrounds and how you became filmmakers!

We've been working as a team for over ten years and filmmaking is our passion. We didn't go to film school, though two of us went to animation school, where we learned storyboarding. A little more than ten years ago, we spent an entire summer making a low-budget horror short called LE BAGMAN with some friends. Surprisingly there was a HUGE buzz around it and that's really what got us going!

Since then, we made over 20 short films and projects, and this was our film school! We built a family of friends and crew over the years, with whom we grew, up until we caught the attention of producers and we're able to make our first feature film which has been our dream.

How did TURBO KID all come together?

The whole TURBO KID adventure started out as a short film we made for the first ABC'S OF DEATH contest, which was called T IS FOR TURBO. We met our pal Jason Eisener in Montreal and he encouraged us into entering the contest. It was really late in the process, but we decided to give it a shot. We had a huge response from viewers all over the world and finished first in the public vote, but unfortunately it didn't get chosen by the jury. A few days later, we received a call from Ant Timpson, one of the producers of ABC's and he asked us if we wanted to turn T IS FOR TURBO into a feature, and we said YES! And so we started writing the script!

Our project was selected to enter the first Fantasia International Film Market in Montreal. And so we pitched TURBO KID, and that's how we met our Canadian producer Anne-Marie Gelinas. That's how the co-production Canada/New Zealand started, and In the following days, the whole family of five producers (Anne-Marie Gelinas, Ant Timpson, Jason Eisener, Benoit Beaulieu and Tim Riley) and the directors was completed.

What was your biggest challenge with the whole production?

Weather and time was our two main challenges on set, but with good attitude, sacrifices, creativity, and an awesome cast and crew we pulled through! Fun fact; our story was originally set in an arid wasteland, and because we had the most intense winter/spring of the last 70 years in Montreal, we quickly had to modify it for a nuclear winter.

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

It is hard to pick a favourite moment, because during the whole process getting financing, crew and actors confirmed, seeing the visual effects, sets getting built, costumes being designed and overall seeing the movie taking form was overall an amazing feeling. But one thing that maybe stood out, is when we saw our two main actors play together, seeing their two character taking life and the outstanding chemistry between them and this was magic! We thought that the gore scenes would be our favourite moments on set, but we ended up enjoying filming the cute scenes between them just as much!

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

Mostly passion, but also the adrenaline and lack of sleep put us in a weird over productive state, you're entering a crazy roller-coaster ride! Of course gazillion litters of coffee does help! Also, Google the phrase Positively Positive by Good Clean Fun. It's the best way to get pumped when driving to the set at 4:00 in the morning.

I am curious about the tech side of the film. I would love to know about the technical side of the film and your relationship to the cinematographer!

We are really close to our cinematographer Jean-Philippe Bernier, who happens to be one of our best friends. We have been doing films together for over eight years, and are totally in synch when it comes time to prep and shoot a project.

On the technical side, the original plan was to shoot anamorphic with old-school lenses (author's note: I recommend Hawk Anamorphics) because we wanted to stay true to the 80's vibe, but we did have to let go some of our esthetical choices because of the reality of the production. We ended shooting with an Alexa and Ultra Prime lenses, which were amazing, and we did were able to capture the look we were aiming for.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie at SxSW and in Austin?

Definitely the crowd! The biggest reward when shooting a movie is really the moment you get to share it with an audience, and it's also the most nerve-racking experience!

After the film screens at South By Southwest, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to screen?

Turbo Kid is going to continue its festival run. We just learned that next stop will be BIFFF in Europe, there's also others coming up that are still to be confirmed.

We sure would like it to screen in our hometown Montreal at the Fantasia International Film Festival, which is also where the project was born - it holds a special place in our hearts.

Alamo Drafthouse and Paramount theaters in Austin aside, if you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

The Imperial in Montreal. It's an oldschool movie theater, it's where we would spend our summers as young teenagers, watching genre movies from all over the world during the early years of the Fantasia Festival. It's also one of the greatest festival crowds!

What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being generally disruptive during a screening of your film?

We would shove that person's cellphone so far up his ass that he'll taste his own shit.

There are a lot of up and coming filmmakers both at SxSW and reading our site. What would you want to tell them if they are aspiring to become a filmmaker?

If it's your passion, if you're willing to sacrifice all your free time, sanity and social life, DO IT - it's totally worth it. Our best advice to you would be to work hard, never give up, and mostly never forget to HAVE FUN!

And finally, what is the single, greatest movie that you have ever seen?

Francois: Braindead, that's the one who changed my life and made me want to become a filmmaker.
Yoann: One of my greatest theatre moments was seeing Hard boiled on the big screen - the crowd was just insane!
Anouk: Picking a single favorite movie is close to impossible... but I'll say Survive Style Five+ holds a special place in my heart.

Be sure to follow TURBO KID online at @turbokidfilm on Twitter, and on the official Facebook page!

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview in our 35+ filmmaker interview series. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2015 SXSW in Austin, Texas between March 13-21. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 03/13/15 07:24:27
last updated: 03/13/15 07:33:45
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