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Whistler Film Festival Interview – “The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh's" Rodrigo Gudino

Rosalind Leigh - At Whistler Film Fest
by Jason Whyte

“The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh focuses on a single character named Leon (played by Aaron Poole), an antiques collector who inherits a house from his estranged mother Rosalind (played by Vanessa Redgrave). When he arrives he discovers that she had been living in a shrine devoted to a mysterious cult of angel worshippers. Then night falls and Leon starts to suspect that the house may be haunted by the lonely spirit of his mother who is using items in the house to contact him with an urgent message.” Director Rodrigo Gudino on the film “The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh” which screens at the Whistler Film Festival.

Is this your first film in the Whistler Film Festival? Do you plan to attend Whistler for the screenings? (If not a premiere) Where else has this movie played?

Yes this is my first film at Whistler and I intend to attend the premiere. The Whistler Film Festival screening is actually at the tail-end of a whirlwind festival tour that included premieres at Sitges International Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, St. Louis Film Festival, Celluloid Screams in Sheffield, Morbido Fest in Mexico, Razor Reel in Bruges and over ten other festivals.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, and what led you to wanting to make films?

I am the founding editor and publisher of Rue Morgue Magazine which I started back in 1997. Over the past 15 years the magazine has grown into the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear (the country’s largest annual horror expo), Rue Morgue Podcast (original all horror broadcast); Rue Morgue Presents CineMacabre Movie Nights monthly film series and Rue Morgue Finery line of clothing and accessories. I always wanted to make movies and it was an idea I had way back when I first started the magazine. I am only half joking when I say that I started the magazine to get into movies.

How did this movie come together?

Very quickly! I had been working on a big budget remake that had been taking its time to come together when my producer, Marco Pecota, asked me to write something that was more contained and could be shot relatively inexpensively. I immediately thought it would be a creative challenge to attempt to do a story around one location and one actor, which in turn naturally led to the theme of loneliness which is what the film is really about. Thankfully, Telefilm liked the script and was able to kick start the project. I was shooting within a few months of turning in the script.

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.

Director of photography Samy Inayeh and I had to work very closely in this film as it is very technical in this regard. In the story, the camera moves away from the actor and explores the environment on its own, showing the audience little clues that our lead character, Leon, is not aware of. The reason we decided to shoot it this way was to maximize the environment which is really a big part of the story as well as to suggest that the camera is a second character in the movie, a not quite living person with its own concerns.

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

I have to say that overall this film came together quite easily and without any major problems. But if I had to say what the most difficult aspect was, it would probably be the shooting simply because of the long days and nights and the tight schedule, but this is true for any movie. The most pleasurable moment would be laying in the sound which is where the film really comes together. It’s that moment where, after having worked on it for so long, you see it for the first time and go “aha, it’s working!”

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

My biggest inspirations are auteurs like Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and Michael Mann but I am also into movies by renegade filmmakers like Takashi Miike and Jim Van Bebber. I wasn’t drawing from anyone particularly for The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh but, looking back on it, I think Hitchcock’s name may pop up once or twice for people who watch it. Hopefully, in a favourable way.

No doubt there are a lot of aspiring filmmakers at film festivals who are out there curious about making a film of their own. Do you have any advice that you could provide for those looking to get a start?

Yes, watch a ton of films, stick to your vision, cultivate an iron will that will keep you moving forward and an iron stomach to deal with rejection and criticism. Don’t try to emulate anybody otherwise you’ll always live in their shadow. And love the process because, in the end, that’s the only thing that’s going to matter.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or making noise at a screening of your movie (or any movie screening that you attend)?

I wouldn’t say I thing but I would quietly judge them.

What is the single, greatest movie that you've ever seen at a film festival?

Angst by Gerard Kargl.

”The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh” plays tonight, 11pm at the Whistler Conference Centre.

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

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.

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 12/02/12 05:02:13
last updated: 12/02/12 05:03:06
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