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Victoria Film Festival 2013 Interview - BEAT DOWN director Deanne Foley

Beat Down - At Victoria Film Festival
by Jason Whyte

"Eighteen-year-old Fran (Marthe Bernard, Republic of Doyle) has always wanted to be a professional wrestler, just like her parents. Never mind the fact that her dad (Trailer Park Boys' Robb Wells), who put the sport behind him years ago, is dead-set against it, to the point that he'll body-slam anyone who even tries to train her. All Fran needs is an opportunity. That's exactly what she sees when her dad's old tag-team partner (Tony Nappo, Saw II) comes through town. Sneaking off to see the show, Fran talks her way onto the tour, determined to follow her dreams even if it means breaking up her family.Beat Down is loaded with action inside and outside the ring. Nominated for three Canadian Comedy awards, it's a heavyweight comedy with a whole lot of heart." Director Deanne Foley on "Beat Down" which screens at this year's Victoria Film Festival.

Is this your first film at the Victoria Film Festival?

BEAT DOWN is my first film to screen at the Victoria Film Festival. My festival experience has been wild! The film has been creating buzz with sold-out screenings in Canada, the US & overseas on the film festival circuit and collecting awards along the way. Itís great that the film that we all worked so hard on over the last 5 years has been given a chance to reach a wider audience. And yes, Iím attending the festival along with lead actress, Marthe Bernard & supporting actress, Janet Kidder. Canít wait!

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

I started out in this industry in 1999 to make features and it took me 11 years to make it happen. In that time, I worked at CTVís Atlantic Development office and then decided to take the plunge and worked on producing my own work from shorts, a documentary for CTV, doc series for Global and, I worked as a video-journalist/field producer for a couple CBC shows and eventually on a TV drama seriesÖand I had a couple of kids, too. Iíve had a lot of opportunity, great mentors and I wasnít afraid to try new things once I made the decision that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Iíve always wanted to make movies ever since I was young. It took me a long time to get the courage to do it, though. It wasnít really pushed as a career choice in Newfoundland when I was growing up. I love what I doÖwhen I get the chance to do it.

How did this whole project come together?

Co-writer Iain MacLeod was going to semi pro-wrestling and telling me stories about it. And I wanted to make a movie about a father and daughter and the two things just came togetherÖsynergy. So we made a movie about a family of wrestlers.

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

Jason Tan was my cinematographer and he was amazing to work with. We spent a lot of time together talking about the story, and how we wanted to shoot the film. We decided to shoot on the RED in widescreen 2.40:1 because it was about capturing this family & the world that they lived in.

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

Aside from our tight shooting schedule, just 18 days, the wrestling scenes & using body doubles was the most challenging for me as a filmmaker because it was the big unknown.

What was your favorite moment?

When my assistant director decided to put away his megaphone.

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world?

Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Wong Kar-Wai, Coen Brothers, Sophia Coppola and Lone Scherfig.

Did you have any direct inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

Karyn Kusamaís "Girlfight" and Wes Andersonís The Royal Tenenbaums.

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

Itís huge, without it, itís almost impossible to get ahead.

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

A full one.

If you could offer some advice to someone who wanted to make movies, what nuggets of wisdom would you offer?

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." If you want to be a director, call yourself one. And just start shooting, cameras are so cheap these days, thereís no excuse not to do it. Donít be afraid to make mistakes. You learn from them.

What would you do or say to someone who is talking, texting or being disruptive during a movie?

Iíd beat the crap out of themÖIím from Newfoundland, we donít fool around.

And finally, what is the single greatest movie that you have seen at a film festival?

Thereís so many...but if I had to choose one, it would be "The Red Violin".

This is one of the many films playing at this yearís 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: 02/04/13 06:15:08
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