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Victoria Film Festival Interview: THE LODGE director Terril Calder

The Lodge - At VFF 2015!
by Jason Whyte

"European and Indigenous cultures collide in this fairy tale told in the spirit world." Director Terril Calder on THE LODGE which screens at the 2015 Victoria Film Festival.

Is this your first movie in the Victoria Film Festival, and are you coming to Victoria for the screening?

Yes, this is my first movie at the Victoria Film Festival. I am sad to report that I will not be attending as I have heard wonderful things about the festival. A colleague noted that it was his favourite festival experience and he has has pretty much screened his film everywhere in world.

Tell me a bit about your background and what led you into movies and film festivals.

I am a visual Artist and I think that might be apparent in my work. I use film like a journey through a painting. Film has offered me so much room for exploration and I am motivated by the challenges it brings. I think the power of Film can evoke social change by exposing issues from different perspectives by seeing the world through another lens. Festivals provide the amazing opportunity to not only connect with brilliant films but also to engage with their makers and to glean an understanding of their process and festivals are a whole lot of fun.

How did this whole project come together from your perspective?

I was trying to find a story that is mine to tell. What is it that makes us (the Metis) unique. I started researching how different cultures incorporate animals into stories (fairy tales, legends, myths, fables) and to approach this through a native lens was of great interest to me. What does it mean to dehumanize a race as animals and what if that race regards their animal selves as scared? The film plays with both the European idea of savage and the Indigenous connection to the spirit animal by merging the Legend of the Dandelion with the original story of The Three Bears.

What was the biggest challenge in making the film? And the most rewarding moment?

Animating a stop-frame animated feature film by yourself is a ridiculous challenge and should be avoided at all cost unless you are a hardworking determined Metis as we are all pretty stubborn! The most rewarding moment is when the work really gets through and connects with someone by inspiring them or challenging their perspective.

What keeps you going while making a movie? How much coffee?

My carrot that drags my cart along would have to be; "I am putting something different into the world." Plenty of coffee and good friends help the process along as well. I have been lucky in life to have good people around me who encourage me to carry on and who believe in the work. I feel like I am doing it for my people and this gives me strength to see to whole project through.

I would love to know about the technical side of the film, your relationship to the director of photography, what the movie was shot on and why it was decided to be filmed this way.

I once read an encouraging article about indie film making. The guys rant was about realizing that you are not a Hollywood film maker and to use this to your advantage. That being said I thought what I can bring to this process is my ability to do most of the roles in film creation. I do everything except for audio where I work with Studio W-19 here in Toronto. I aim to treat the process as an artist playing with a medium intimately rather than a Director directing others to implement my vision. It is my aim to evoke some kind of alchemy through this process.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film in a cinema?

I used to be a performance artist and I had a front row seat to see if the work was engaging or not. Sometimes the venue would include alcohol or the audience would move through the space and only engage as long as it was of interest. I would find this experience great feedback and it would give me a lot to consider. If the film is paced slowly then this happens. You can lose some. I would have to decide whether or not this is my intent. I mean this could work masterfully. Good or bad, how the audience reacts to the work is vital, and the feedback is educational. I wouldn't force someone to pretend and I rather like being tossed into a gladiator ring and I get to see what the film is made of.

There are a lot filmmakers, especially up-and-comers, reading our site. I was curious if you had any advice to aspiring filmmakers?

If you are bored than your film will be boring. Put something different into the world something that excites you and trust in your vision. Don't be afraid to take risks as you have an equal chance of failing if your try to play it safe.

And finally, what would you say is your favorite festival movie?

My mind was officially blown away by Jennifer Reeder's A MILLION MILES AWAY. It is now playing at Sundance and it is a must see. She masterfully plays with the media in a sorta 80s throwback with a contemporary bite. The film works on so many levels and resonates with you after you leave the theatre. It hinges on campy but its “heart” is the rub. She is a director that takes many risks and is breaking new ground with her extraordinary vision and brings the audience to her instead of complacently trying to fit in.

For additional information on the Victoria Film Festival including screening times, ticketing information and other events happening around the city in the next ten days, point your browser to

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @jasonwhyte for live updates throughout the fest including Instagram updates, commentary and links to upcoming interviews and coverage. If you see me in line, please say hi!

Jason Whyte,

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 02/10/15 03:42:37
last updated: 02/13/15 07:39:03
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