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David Fine and Alison Snowden are nominated for an Oscar this year for their short film Animal Behaviour.

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Who: David Fine, 58, filmmaker, 2019 Oscar nominee; Alison Snowden, 60, filmmaker, 2019 Oscar nominee

Location: Vancouver

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Relationship status: Married since 1984

From classmates to flatmates

David: I left Toronto to go to film school in England in 1980. Alison was in the same class and I was intrigued by her immediately. I think part of it was that one of my very favourite songs at that time was Alison by Elvis Costello. I’d never met an Alison in Canada, so it was a bit – who is this girl?

Alison: At first I was a bit confused about the guy who kept staring at me all the time, but we eventually started chatting and working on each other’s projects. And then one day – I had this very crazy landlady at the time and she threw me out of my flat.

David: She arrived at class on Monday and said, “I’m homeless.” I told her I had a sofa that she could stay on. I’m sure my motives were totally pure. She took me up on my offer.

Alison: I was homeless! And then I never moved out.

Love and grudges

Alison: After so many years, we have certain routines in our working relationship. I tend to take the lead on design aspects of a project, whereas David will take the lead on producing, financing.

David: That’s because Alison is a far better designer than I am. Mostly though, our partnership is equal. When we disagree we will either talk it through or consult a third party. It’s funny because the biggest debates tend to be about the most mundane details.

Alison: For our short film Bob’s Birthday we had this huge disagreement about the colour of the tie – whether it should be a bright pattern or more neutral. We actually had to have friends settle the argument.

David: And then Bob’s Birthday went on to win the Oscar, so I like to think maybe …

Alison: He’s still holding a grudge.

Red carpet romance

Alison: I remember at one point thinking it would be nice to work separately from your spouse so you would have things to talk about at the end of the day. But now I realize, listening to stories about somebody else’s workplace must be really boring.

David: We were up early this year waiting for the Oscar nominations to be announced. The Academy encourages nominees to record their reactions. We were a little hesitant. We thought, “Oh, they want to see people jumping up and down and screaming,” and that’s not us.

Alison: And then Animal Behaviour was announced and I started screaming. Even if we’ve been through this before, it’s very exciting for the particular project.

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David: I think maybe we’re a little more relaxed than we were 23 years ago. Back then it was so important to have the recognition in terms of getting our names out there.

Alison: I find these sorts of red carpet things a bit stressful. Everybody wants to know, “What are you going to wear?” I’m a very casual person, so I want to find something that suits me. He just has to go and rent a tux.

David: That’s what I did the last time. I’m not sure that one would fit any more.

Alison: Men are wearing them so tight these days, you never know.

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