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VIFF 2017 Interview: MEET BEAU DICK - MAKER OF MONSTERS director Natalie Boll

By Jason Whyte
Posted 10/12/17 03:13:29

"MEET BEAU DICK - MAKER OF MONSTERS is a rare and intimate look into the life of one of Canada's legendary artists Beau Dick. The film takes you through his past experiences, the people and places that shaped himself as an artist, community leader, and activist." Director Natalie Boll on MEET BEAU DICK which screens at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Is this your first VIFF experience and will you be in Vancouver to attend your screenings?

The last time I had a film at VIFF was in 2005 with a short film I produced called INCONVENIENCE. I will be at both of the screenings for Meet Beau Dick- Maker of Monsters. I think that VIFF is a unique festival. You have the community and intimate feeling of a small festival, but yet you have this international audience and a fantastic turnout. It is an extraordinary experience for a filmmaker to showcase your film.

Your favorite place to grab a bite of food or a drink in-between a screening? What is your favorite part of VIFF?

Well, I would say that my favorite place to grab a bite is my own restaurant Bauhaus in Gastown! But my favorite part of VIFF is just taking a chance and going into a film you may not otherwise see. The surprise films are always the ones to remember.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your background, and how you got into the whole filmmaking business!

I attended the Langley Fine Arts School in Fort Langley. It was an amazing experience to be at an art school. Before being there, my whole life people made it seem like careers in the arts were not realistic. But once I started at LFS it was such a positive environment, and people were suddenly encouraging careers in the arts. My first career placement through school was a small theatre in New Westminster the Vagabond Theatre as a set dec and light tech. I ended up graduating high school a year early and moving to New York at 18 to go to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, for dance and acting. Through this, I was introduced to producing and realized I was naturally really good at managing and producing projects. From then on I worked as a music video producer for years and then went into production managing and producing TV and features.

How did the movie come together from your perspective?

This is my first time officially directing a project. The project started almost eight years ago. So this is a bit of a long story. Latiesha Fazakas, my partner, started the project in early 2010. She approached me in 2012 to help her produce the film. We went on to shoot a demo for the project together and applied for funding. Initially, we were looking for a director for the project. But as we waited for financing and the ability to hire a director Latiesha, and I ended up directing it ourselves.

While you are working on a movie, what keeps you going? What drives you, creatively? How much coffee?

The driving force was that we both wanted to introduce Beau Dick to the world. Roadblocks as you could call them kept coming up but we never questioned, "Should we stop trying?" We adapted to each roadblock and continued. The biggest creativity behind the project was just opening up to listening. Not allowing any preconceived notions of what the story was. We listened and let the story organically tell itself. Capturing the story for what it was authentically.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and how did you overcome it?

Funding. We did not get any funding or support from grants or TV networks. That was very frustrating. We overcame this by not stopping to wait for approvals from sources of financing. We just kept filming. Largely we were able to do this with the tremendous support we received from our community and friends. People were coming out and donating their talents and time to help us keep going.

In the end, the lack of funding became a blessing. We ended up filming for over five years. If we had funding partners, we would have had to abide by deadlines. We would have had to submit a story and schedules. In the end, we were able to film what we felt was right and until we naturally felt the story ended. Near the end of the project, we had an executive producer Randall Perry come on board to help with the financing privately to finishing the film. Also, my husband Uwe Boll was able to help with his company for the final post-production.

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

Oh, there were so many I can't pick just one! But what instantly comes to my mind is the initial trip to Alert Bay where Beau is from, this place was deep in my dreams before I even arrived. When the ferry pulled into the island, I was overcome with energy. In words, it is hard to explain it is just that magical.

For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, I would love to know about the technical side of the film!

Again, because we had no funding, we shot on a million different cameras and formats. Everything from iPhones, to original mini sony camcorders, to red cameras. Whoever could come out and film and whatever equipment we had we used. This is an editors nightmare. So we are very thankful for Steve Bowyer, our editor who stayed with this project since the beginning. It was not easy! When we did have some money, in the end, we took a red camera up to Alert Bay for some nice higher quality shots. The sound was also a mix match. Some of the footage was unusable because of the poor audio quality. My advice would be not to do what we did. However, if you end up in our situation, I recommend going to a place like Finale Post to help color correct the film to be cohesive and finding an experienced sound studio to help with the final mix.

Where is this movie going to show next?

We initially were speaking to Cineplex for a limited release through their Cineplex Events stream. We hope that this ends up working out. Other than that we have had some interest to keep showing the film in local Vancouver theatres, we are submitting to more festivals. Up until now, we have been a bit overwhelmed finishing the project so now we are turning our attention to finding more homes for the film.

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

I am excited to show it at the SFU Goldcorp theatre during VIFF.

Movie theaters are the best place to see a movie, but sometimes they can be distracting! What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being overall disruptive during a screening of your film?

I hope this does not happen.

There are many aspiring filmmakers reading us for our articles and reviews for inspiration. If you could offer a nugget of advice to them on how to get their start, what would you say to them?

This industry is extremely individual. There is no right or wrong path.

And finally, what is the best movie you have ever seen at a film festival, and why?

ATANARJUAT: THE FAST RUNNER. I believe this was in 2001 at VIFF. It was my first time at a film festival. I never forgot that day and how the film made me feel. After that, I would only go to the indie film section in Blockbuster. I really miss Blockbuster. Best film festival experience was Sundance in 2011 when a short film I produced THE CAVE was showing. Wow, that festival just throws you into a whole other film festival world. It had everything from amazing inmate industry talks to crazy parties, unlike anything that I have ever seen.

This is one of the many films screening at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 28th to October 13th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to www.viff.org.

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

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