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A Kind of Wonderful Thing
2012, 90m, comedy, drama
When Anna is diagnosed with cancer she struggles to live the last few months of her life in peace until her sister announces her upcoming wedding and her unemployed musician brother decides to move in.
10 questions with A Kind of Wonderful Thing director, Jason Lupish at the half-way mark.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
1Hi Jason! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Summer Film Festival. First, what was the initial inspiration behind this film? A song by Guster called What You Wish for ... If you listen to the lyrics of the song it's quite sad. But it's such an upbeat tune. And I loved the contrast of having this upbeat pace with a sad message. So I wanted to make a film that made me feel the way that song did. Then I found out it was the opening title track to Life as a House and nearly lost it, it was pretty funny.
2Erica Sherwood does a great job as the lead and she's also a producer too. How did you two meet and what was it like working together? We first met through Adam Stephenson, a mutual friend and writer of my first feature film A Life Less Gone. Adam and I were filming a pilot for a show called Deep River and we cast Erica as one of the characters. I told Erica about an idea for a character that I thought she would be suited for and we decided to develop the idea into what is now A Kind of Wonderful Thing. Originally it was quite different. The quirkiness definetly comes from Erica's sense of humour. The seriousness comes from my style of storytelling, and I think it blends nicely because some of the funniest scenes in the film are when characters are being dead serious, but you're allowed to laugh at them because you've established a tone that, despite the serious nature, were allowed to laugh at these people.
3My favorite scene in the film is when Anna and the neighbor are walking home and the neighbor talks about how many people he's killed. It's such a sweet moment between the two of them. What's your favorite scene and what did it take to get it? My favourite scene is the one where Josh and The Neighbour are waiting for Anna to get dressed. Originally we wrote 3 or 4 versions of the scene, that just sucked, one where Josh was getting drunk and then tried to force the Neighbour to drink with him and it never felt right. So on the day, we knew it was an important scene to show Josh's over protectiveness, and we had already established this a bit on the porch. So we just kinda let Brad and Ed do their thing. We let them play with a few different levels of seriousness and humour making it up as they went along and by the time we started rolling we had the dialogue that they eventually said in the film. Some of the best moments in the film are the ones that came organically like that.
4Can you share a war story from the shoot? It took 4 years to finish. I think that in itself is a war. As far as anything bad happening on set, it was a pretty simple shoot, it just took a long time to complete, filming took a year. Then post production took a year to get the version we premiered in 2012, but it had copyright music in it. Then when we got accepted to NIFF in 2014, we recreated most of the sound design and got an all original soundtrack from some amazing local musicians.
5What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? There's a new one every couple of years. I would say in the beginning probably Pulp Fiction, but that's a bit cliche. In the late 90's it would have been Magnolia, quickly followed by Memento and Requiem for a Dream. Lately I've been watching a lot of Brian DePalma's earlier work, Dressed to Kill is probably one of my favourite films right now. I'd love to sink my teeth into a thriller next, but we're working on a drama about underground bareknuckle fighting for women.
6What's the indie film scene like in Canada? I don't know about all of Canada, but in the Niagara region where we are from its pretty cool. There are a few filmmakers here that are producing some interesting stuff. And we're all doing it ourselves there's no real money behind any of the films and yet they're competing internationally with some big films. We're hoping the next one will put us on the map.
7What's the biggest thing you learned from making this film? You learn more from doing things the wrong way than you do from doing them the right way. I know I'm paraphrasing some famous quote but it's really true. I can look at scenes that we didn't spend enough time on, or locations that we should have held out for, and I know what we did wrong with those scenes and so that's easy to fix the next time. But most of the scenes that look great, I couldn't tell you why they look great.
8You wrote this script as well. How long did it take you to write and what was the biggest challenge writing it? Both Erica and I wrote it and it took us about 2 years to write. The biggest challenge was getting everything we both wanted in there while not compromising our vision too much. Erica and I both have very different tastes in film so sometimes it can be a challenge. But what's great about that is that we open each other to new ideas and challenge each other to think in ways that we may not have originally thought:
9You also did the cinematography in this film. Do you find it difficult to shoot and direct or do you think it's easier because you can get your exact vision on screen? It's very tough. I enjoy doing both but I think the performances suffer a bit when you're behind the camera. But we've done this will all of our projects so it's become second nature. For FIGHT! I am hoping to just focus on directing.
10What's next? FIGHT! A film about a woman trying to save her family and a 16 year old girl who both get caught up in the world of underground bareknuckle boxing. We start filming in August.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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