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Whistler Film Festival 2015 Interview: LOVE IN THE SIXTH filmmakers Jude Klassen and Jason Butler

by Jason Whyte

"LOVE IN THE SIXTH is a musical comedy with ripping tunes, raw acting, relevant themes, raunchy revelations, and is unlike anything you've seen before." Director Jude Klassen on LOVE IN THE SIXTH which screens at the 2015 Whistler Film Festival. Jude is also joined by lead actor, editor and co-producer Jason Butler.

Welcome to Whistler Film Festival! Is this your first Whistler Film Festival experience and are you going to be in attendance for your screenings?

Jude Klassen: I'm a BC expat and a skier so I have enjoyed the epic charms of Whistler, but this is my first time attending the Whistler Film Festival. I have always wanted to, even just as an audience member. Being at Whistler with my first feature film is a crazy Technicolor dream! Most of our team is traveling to Whistler from Toronto. We have written a song to introduce the film and we're bringing guitars!

Sounds awesome! Talk to me a bit about how you got your start and your previous work.

Jude: I have been a writer and comedian for decades but I feel like this IS me getting my start as it's the first film I have produced and directed. Teaming up with the Butler Brothers was definitely a slick move, since these guys are indie veterans and responded with respect and positivity to my ideas. There was absolute trust both ways and I pretty much cut them loose as editors. They found the vision within the vision.

Jason Butler: Awww, shucks Jude! Brett and I have been making indie features for over ten years now, and we got started because, honestly, we felt there was a void that needed to be filled. The types of films we loved in the 90's disappeared and in their stead Hollywood indie imposter films popped up; effectively a gentrification of a genre/style of film we loved! So we put our money...very, very little money...where our mouths were and go at it. We really began finding our voice with CONFUSIONS OF AN UNMARRIED COUPLE and continued with MOURNING HAS BROKEN. We just wrapped shooting on FIRST ROUND DOWN and we're very excited about unleashing it on the world in 2016.

So with all this great sounding talent, how did the whole movie come about from your perspective, Jude?

Jude: LOVE IN THE SIXTH came about organically. I know that sounds strange, but one day I decided to make a film with my cinematographer Rob McGee. I took a TV pilot I had been trying to get made called Mancation, about a single artist mom trying to stay off the man-crack, and just started shooting B-roll; things like me shoveling snow, cleaning toilets and so forth. Then I told people I was making a movie and asked did they want to help, or be in it? Basically, I Huck Finned everyone into painting my fence. It accidentally became a musical after I started spontaneously co-writing the tunes with my co-star T.C. Folkpunk and my composer pal Asher Ettinger. And then, every righteous babe I know came onboard to act, dance, sing, hold a diffuser; I talked a couple of incredible singer-slash-songwriters, Collette Savard and Natasha Bouchard, into providing a song each, and my pal Wendy Sinclair started jamming with me on ideas and ended up being this superstar actor. I have bragging rights to her future career.

Jay: Jude called us in sweaty summer desperation to round out a crazy scene one day and Brett and I made sure she couldn't cut us out of the film after that, as we are sneaky that way. And we are happy to say we have managed to fool her ever since!

What keeps you both going while making a movie? What is the drive? How much coffee does it take?

Jude: I am a west coast hippie: my juicer and yoga kept my brain humming. Keeping my daughter, Mika (who plays my precocious kid in the film) inspired and engaged was a big part of it. For all its wildness, LOVE IN THE SIXTH has heart and heft. Mika was that beating heart. She represents the goodness in the world that needs protecting. Showing her how to use art and humour to funk the power ultimately fueled my passion.

Jay: NOT Jude's awful Wheat Grass Martinis. WOW, are they west coast hippie terrible! Beer and coffee all the way; coffee with a dash of beer in the morning and the reverse at night!

From both of your perspectives, what was the biggest challenge with making LOVE IN THE SIXTH?

Jude: The biggest challenge was not looking at my bank balance, and not looking down! When I saw the edited scene where I interview Les Stroud and Dennis Trainor pops up in the garden, I knew I would want to see this film. That, and shooting the first big musical number, "Fucking Love!" That day was as heightened and colourful as it looks on screen. No compromise baby!

Jay: Working with the vision, the more it revealed itself, and making sure to take advantage of the signposts along the way as we shot intermittently over a few months. It was editing and acting without a net, in the best sense. For me the moment is when Brett, Wendy and I were singing in bed together, and despite how terrible Brett and I sounded technically, it was hitting a perfect note for the film. This crazy thing was making sense!

I must get technical for our filmmaker readers, as I would love to know about the visual design of the movie and how the movie was photographed.

Jude: The visual design evolved out of having two extremely talented stills photographers working in tandem shooting their first movie. Director of photography Robert McGee and second camera Jeremy Gilbert brought a freshness and artfulness to the film. We used mostly natural light but Taylor Sullivan created some really lovely lighting. We were always open to those random gifts from the universe and sometimes stumbled upon locations, angles and moments. All of the amazing women who fill the screen showed up in full art house attire and made up for the lack of a costume budget. My artist friend homes, filled with paintings and quirkiness, were fabulous and there was Rob's amazing photography studio with its freight elevator and gorgeous stairwells. We really captured what a Toronto artist's life looks like; messy, humble, exciting and beautiful. And of course there are the giant paper mache ducks created by Laura Lind for my tar sands duet with John Lefebvre. Those ducks set against the Scarborough bluffs and we had entered a new dimension.

What are you looking forward to the most about premiering your movie in Whistler?

Jude: Being reunited with all of my BC buddies, my close friends and family, all together for my World Premiere in one of the most naturally stunning places on the planet. Sometimes life is shockingly good.

After the film has its world premiere in Whistler, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to show?

Jude: We can't yet announce our future screenings, but it's coming soon to a city near you!

If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Jay: The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, because they would be the perfect audience for this insanity and you can drink bourbon milkshakes while you're watching!

What would you say or do to someone who was being disruptive, like talking or texting, at a screening you were attending?

Jude: Go home're drunk.

What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business as a piece of advice?

Jay: Do not stop until you are finished! No relent! And then get Brett and I to edit it.

And finally, what is your all time favorite movie? Or film festival movie?

Jude: Of ALL time? That's hard. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH completely blew my mind. And another Charlie Kaufman script, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is the most genius, heartbreaking romantic comedy I have ever seen. Since seeing that film I haven't had a romantic relationship where I don't long for the mind erase cure. If there's an Indiegogo campaign to invent one, I'm in!

Be sure to check out the world premiere of LOVE IN THE SIXTH at #wff15 on Friday, December 4th, 10:00pm at Village 8 Cinemas.

For more information on the movie, check out the films' official website and be sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter at @loveinthesixth and Jude on Twitter @judecast and Instagram!

This is one of the many films playing at the 2015 Whistler Film Festival. For show information, tickets and for other general information on films and events, point your browser to the official website at!

[bigger]Be sure to follow instant happenings of Whistler Film Festival on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a photo or two. You can also follow the festival on my Instagram at jason.whyte!

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 11/30/15 10:37:32
last updated: 11/30/15 10:50:21
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