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Victoria Film Festival Interview - "Day Before Yesterday" director Patricia Chica

Day Before Yesterday - At Victoria Film Festival
by Jason Whyte

“Day Before Yesterday presents the intriguing story of a woman who is found unconscious in the middle of a seedy backstreet in Montreal's downtown area. She doesn't remember who she is and where she comes from until an unexpected man calls the police to tell her story. Is she the person that the man used to know? Is he who he pretends to be? A short story about memory loss and identity.” Director Patricia Chica on the film “Day Before Yesterday” which screens as part of the CONVERGE program at the Victoria Film Festival.

Is this your first film at the Victoria Film Festival?

Yes! Another short film that I produced called “Flamenco Shoe” was also presented at the VFF about 10 years ago.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, and what led you to the industry.

I was born in El Salvador and came to Canada during the civil war of the 1980s. I'm a graduate -- with distinction -- of the Concordia Film Production Program.

How did this whole project come together?

I was very lucky to have been offered to work on the film by Sarah Beckett, the writer-producer. I immediately felt a strong connection with the story and the principal character and really liked Sarah's vision of the project! I feel so connected to the story, almost like if it was written for Michelle Boback (the lead actress) and myself.

Please tell me about the technical side of the film; your relation to the film’s cinematographer, what the film was shot on and why it was decided to be photographed this way.

It was clear from the beginning that we wanted this short to be a beautiful narrative piece. We decided to film it on HD with pro 35mm cinema lenses in order to get the depth of field of film cameras. I proposed to work with John Ashmore, a very talented cinematographer that I had known for several years. Because of the genre of the script was a psychological thriller, I wanted to explore the film noir look and a timeless kind of art direction. We explored a clair-obscur style of lighting with low key ambiances and shadowy areas. When you watch the film, you cannot tell what year it was shot and I think that it will age well.

Out of the entire production, what was the most difficult aspect of making this film? Also, what was the most pleasurable moment?

I can only recall the best moments. The highlight for me was working with the actors. We had a full day of rehearsals and we were able to explore all the possibilities in character direction. I also enjoyed collaborating with the creative crew (writer, producer, cinematographer, art director, picture and sound editor).

The difficult part was the time. Shooting a 12 minute short in 3 days with various location changes was challenging, but with the help and dedication of the whole team, we were able to make it happen! I am very thankful of everyone's hard work and contribution!

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world (directors, actors, cinematographers, etc)? Did you have any direct inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

I'm a huge fan of Hitchcock! His work was definitely an inspiration in the making of Day Before Yesterday.

How has the film been received at other festivals or screenings?

We have just started our festival tour. The first time the film was presented was at the Director's Chair Film Festival in New York and it won four awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Sound along with three other nominations.

We are also nominated for the Prends Ça Court! awards as the Best Quebec Short Film of the year.

Do you have any interesting stories about how this film has screened before?

When Michelle Boback and I went to the Director's Chair Film Festival, we were interviewed live on Time Warner Cable! It was nice to be able to talk about the film to an American audience. Michelle even got to sing one of her songs at the closing ceremony that was broadcast live! It made us realize that being present at film festivals helps reach out to new audiences. I always try to be present at all the screenings, as much as possible.

What do you think you will expect at the film’s screenings at Victoria?

I hope that people at the Victoria Film Festival will enjoy the short!

If you weren’t making movies, what other line or work do you feel you’d be in?

I would be a humanitarian worker, a rock star, a mogul in the music industry or a travel journalist. As a filmmaker, I feel that I can be all of those things at once!

How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?

I think the opinion that really matters these days is the one that the global internet community posts online via their social media networks. People are more inclined to go watch a movie if their Facebook friends liked it rather than their newspaper's film critic. I believe in the power of social media as a tool to reach out to our audiences.

If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?

I would choose the Angelika Film Center in New York. My favourite indie cinema!

If you could offer a nickel’s worth of free advice to someone who wanted to make movies, what nuggets of wisdom would you offer?

I would tell them to get a degree in their field of interest, to do a few internships to learn filmmaking in the real world and to never give up! If you believe in your dreams you can make them happen.

What do you love the most about film and the filmmaking business?

The possibility to share my vision with the world!

A question that is easy for some but not for others and always gets a different response: what is your favourite film of all time?

The one that I'm about to make.

This is one of the many films playing at this year’s Victoria Film Festival. For showtimes and further information visit

Be sure to follow instant happenings of the festival and updates on my Twitter @jasonwhyte!

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 02/07/10 03:23:54
last updated: 02/07/10 03:28:31
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