by Jason Whyte
EADWEARD - At VIFF 2015
"This is a film about an oddly-eccentric man who invented cinema. One of the most important inventors in history and one that many haven't heard of, who also is part of one of the most outrageous stories of all time." Producer Josh Epstein on EADWEARD which is playing in the BC Spotlight section of the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival. Josh and director Kyle Rideout talk to efilmcritic.com about their movie.
Tell me about your VIFF experience and will you be in Vancouver to attend your screenings?
Josh Epstein: This is my second VIFF film. My first was our short film WAIT FOR RAIN. But I'm a long long time fan and my favourite experience there was SPELLBOUND (Jeffrey Blitz, 2003), which was the first time I saw a movie and felt like it was an immersive experience. The audience was cheering, yelling at the scream. I wanted to create something that can get a rise out of an audience like that did one day.
Kyle Rideout: This is my second VIFF, but my first time with a feature here. The short film WAIT FOR RAIN, which by the title sounds like a short wait in Vancouver, played the festival in 2012. I love VIFF. I love Vancouver. Bringing the EADWEARD back to its hometown is truly wonderful. We will be at our second screening on Oct. 5th and cast and crew will be at both.
Tell me a bit about yourselves and how you got to this point in releasing EADWEARD to the world.
Josh: I've been acting since I was eight years old professionally but as you find with most people who have staying in this profession that long I have taken many different trails. I have my commerce degree and I have performed at most major theatres across the country including two wonderful years at the Stratford Festival. I left the festival though to work with Kyle and make a feature. Now we have two in development and a first look deal with Lark to enter the TV arena.
Kyle: I trained as an actor at Studio 58, which just celebrated its 50th, and then have been working in the theatre including Bard on the Beach, The Playhouse Theatre, and the Electric Company Theatre which created the play, Studies in Motion. Josh and I were hired as actors in that play and we kept asking ourselves backstage, "why isn't this a movie". We optioned the play and turned it the film.
Very strong and prolific background which is great! With that, how did EADWEARD all come together for you, Kyle?
Kyle: One of our first key people was enlisting Mirza as our cinematographer. I created a lookbook to show some our key people as many elements of the film I was imagining. Both Mirza and I were on the same page immediately. Bringing Michael Eklund on board the face of our Eadweard was an enormous step for us in making it a reality. We talked a lot about the character of who he was and about how he would be willing to grow a beard and be nude in the film. We shot the film in 24 days and the cast and crew on set were truly inspiring. We completed the film early this year and it has been an absolute pleasure to show the film to all the people who worked on it.
While you are working on a movie, what keeps you going? What drives you? Strong coffee? What's your poison?
Josh: In total honesty, I quit caffeine before shooting. It's so cheesy but I woke up and got out of bed at 5:00am and was the first one at set every day. Why? To make sure everything was set for the day but truthfully I was excited like a ten year old kid. I have always wanted to make movies so that's my poison!
Kyle: I slept on set sometimes. I literally pitched my tent in the field we were shooting on and squeezed a bit more time out of the day. It was amazing, I had a few hours of sunlight to walk around on set and go through the next day's scenes and shots without any interruptions.
With the period setting, costumes and design of te movie, what was your biggest challenge with making EADWEARD, and how did you over-come it?
Josh: Making a five million dollar period film for $150,000. Yes, definitely that. We begged, borrowed everything we could get our hands on and the community was a huge asset. I like to think over the years Kyle and I made a lot of friends in this town and then used all our favours up in one go!
Kyle: Let me tell you trying to shoot a scene with two little piglets. It is very challenging. Josh and I rewrote the whole scene on set as we were shooting. With film you prepare and prepare for every possible event, but with piglets, there is no planning.
So was it the piglets scene that was your favorite part of the production, or was there another element that you remember the most?
Josh: We convinced the crew to climb the chief on the final day and I was worried sick that they would all hate us. But at the top, the sun rising, they all came over one at a time and thanked us for this special experience. The crew was so positive about the film from day one with working for low wages and long hours. They continuously told us how this film was unlike anything they had worked on. I think hearing it through their voices really encouraged us to keep going the way we were going.
Kyle: Climbing the Chief and shooting up there was awe inspiring. It was such a team effort and coinciding with the last scene of the shoot was just beautiful.
As I am a big fan of cinematography and in particular a fan of the look and design of this movie, I was wondering if we could go "tech" and talk more about the cinematography and your collaboration with Mirza?
Kyle: We shot the film on RED One and RED Epic. For the opening shots when we were on the Chief, that was shot with RED Scarlet. And for the single pull away shot off the cliff we used the Canon 5D Mark ii. We took one look at the budget and thought that we would definitely have to shoot digital. For the majority of the film it was shot on Mirza's Red One. There have been a few people who have insisted that we should have shot on film since Eadweard was such a contributor to film, but my reply has always been that Eadweard was at the forefront of technology in his day even creating cameras and devices to achieve what he wanted. I figure if Eadweard Muybridge was making this movie nowadays he would be using the latest iPhone that he tweaked and changed himself to be better.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie at VIFF?
Josh: We are playing the Playhouse Theatre for one screening. The Playhouse was one of the major donors on our film. They provided us access to all their incredible period costumes. So to share the film there will be extra special. I love that space.
Kyle: To show the film to those who have been involved in the project. There really are so many countless people who worked so hard and haven't seen the film. To show them will be wonderful.
Where is this movie going to show next? Any theatrical release?
Josh: We have a small Canadian release so far and with more playdates to come. It will play elsewhere in the world.
What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being overall disruptive during a screening of your film?
Josh: It doesn't make me blow a gasket to be honest. However, nowadays there are only a few reasons you must see a film in the theatre. One could be for the big budget films that need to be on a big screen for the sound and picture. Another could be a film with incredible cinematography of a gorgeous terrain. The third and most important reason to be drawn into the theatre to see a flick is to share an experience with strangers. There are very few places where you get a chance to turn off your phone and enjoy an experience fully with other people, the cinema is one of those places and they're losing out on their own enjoyment.
Kyle: I would say just tweet about it after!
There are many aspiring filmmakers reading us for our articles and reviews on efilmcritic.com and no doubt are interested in smaller budget productions like this. If you could offer a nugget of advice to them on how to get their start, what would you say to them?
Josh: Make a movie, just do it, make some sacrifices in your life so that you have no choice but to make it. You will find a way.
Kyle: And I agree with Josh, yes make a movie, but spend lots and lots of time and get outside opinions on the script. It is so important.
And finally, what is the best movie you have ever seen at a film festival, and why?
Josh: FORCE MAJEURE. I felt our audience was an attached pack. A little look, a moment of stillness could capture our entire attention or it could cause an outburst of sound, a laugh, or applause. We constantly took sides with different characters, and then switched allegiances, you could feel it, it was palpable. I couldn't believe I was watching a film this small, getting such a rock-concert reaction. I was so deeply involved in the telling of this story and every moment felt monstrous. I want to create characters in wild situations that feel so real but really push their moments of strength and weakness so that they have the ability to dart in any direction with the full magnitude of their souls.
Kyle: Watching Gravity at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival for the first time was something else. It's always so exciting watching a film very early in it's life, it feels like a secret that then you want to tell everyone about.
Be sure to follow the adventure of EADWEARD and its upcoming VIFF and public screenings at the film's official website at Motion58.com, and the EADWEARD fan page on Facebook! You can also follow these two awesome guys on Twitter at @joshepstein1 and @kylerideout!
This is one of the many films screening at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 24th to October 9th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to www.viff.org or use the VIFF app for Android and iOS.
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=3840
originally posted: 09/28/15 03:29:40
last updated: 09/28/15 03:36:01