Filmmaker Q&A Sid Zanforlin

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

Comment

 

DCP:

I always like to start from the beginning - When/How did your love for film and filmmaking begin?

 

Sid Zanforlin:

I remember my parents taking me to a play when I was but a pup. Not sure why but it made a huge impression on me. Maybe cause my parents weren’t particularly creative folk and seeing a play was special but I also think it was because I saw acting, art direction, lighting and story story story for the first time in a live setting and I thought; I want to do that. Later growing up in the late eighties, I watched amazing films that to this day blow me away and dictate my taste in cinema. Jaws, The Thing, Dressed To Kill, An American Werewolf in London, Carrie and later Delicatessen, Seven, Fischer King, Wes Anderson, etc etc all solidified my love. Originally I thought I wanted to make strange kids films but then had to admit to myself I wanted to make smart, fun and good looking horror comedies. My first film Goggle Boy was kind of a ET inspired thing that got me in the Canadian Film Center and there I was taught by David Cronenberg and Norman Jewison and that changed something inside me. I did a weird short called Trailer Park Unicorn (on youtube) and then started directing theatre. I fell in love with actors and rehearsal. Did 5 plays, made little money so then started directing tv and did another short called Attack of the Brainsucker. That was a successful short for me and was a culmination of everything I had learnt and loved. I tried to balance drama, horror and b movie aesthtics into a 12 min short. Not easy but great fun. After that, I realized it was horror comedies was my focus and what I wanted to do and grabbed all my friends, borrowed equipment and made Never tear Us Apart for $2000.

 

 

DCP:

What are some of your all time favorite films that have impacted or influenced you in a major way?

 

SZ:

Answer above

 

DCP:

Who or What inspires you, not just as a person but as an artist?

 

SZ:

The subversive, the strange and the beautiful. What I mean is a strange, magic realist/horror story with amazing art direction and beautiful photography will bring me to tears. The fantastical inspires me, the unexplained and the weird. Also a good Korean meal will tickle my fancy :)

 

DCP:

Four years ago you began directing for a show called Fatal Vows, which is a show I enjoy! How did you land such a gig?

 

SZ:

The producer saw my short Attack of the Brainsucker and liked it. At the time she offered me one episode and I did my best Brian De Palma homage. She loved it and asked me to do 4 episodes the next season. Now I am the lead director on it and try to inspire the other directors to inject more horror and tension into the show. I also do a show called Strangers in My Home which has a bit more horror. Fun shows to do. Definitely getting in my 10,000 hours of directing under my belt :)

 

DCP:

Can you tell us about your short film "Never Tear Us Apart", which is at the Fantasia International Film Festival, and what it's about?

 

SZ:

NTUA as I like to call it now, is a proof of concept short about finding the place where you belong, where one fits, who your people are. I’m a Chilean, English speaking Canadian that lives in a French province. I have tried to leave Montreal many times but never felt like I fit in anywhere else so I always came back. I made a horror comedy that spoke about these themes in my life. A young man named James finds out he’s adopted and goes to find his people. What he finds are the sweetest, most loving grandparents that also happen to be cannibal killers.

 

I have written a feature version and hope to find funding to make the film next spring.

 

DCP:

What were some things you learned on past projects that you apply to every present project?

 

SZ:

Story Story Story!! Build conflict in every scene, know your theme and let it drive everything. I’ve learnt how to block scenes by doing it over and over again and by watching Spielberg and De Palma films. I learnt from Seven Samurai to always have movement in every scene (even if it’s rain on the windows in the back ground), etc etc. But ultimately the greatest challenge is to have your team and actors back you up 100%.  They need to respect and believe in the director and that happens by totally being prepared so you're able to have fun and make funny. People will then give you everything.

 

DCP:

Do you have a dream project that you'd like to direct some day?

 

SZ:

The feature of NTUA and my next project about a kid that believes his grandmother is an alien so he sets out to kill her.

 

DCP:

Can you talk about anything you may have lined up for the future?

 

SZ:

Direct more Re-enactment TV to keep practicing my craft and finally do a feature and then fiction tv.

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