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Nick McAnulty's debut feature film Uncle Brian screens at VIFF. (Handout)
Nick McAnulty's debut feature film Uncle Brian screens at VIFF. (Handout)

Q and A: Nick McAnulty Add to ...

Q and A: Nick McAnulty

Born in Guelph, Ontario as the middle child of five, Nick McAnulty has always wanted to make movies. His feature film debut Uncle Brian garnered considerable acclaim at the New York City International Film Festival. Nick is currently developing future projects alongside his producing partners with Critical Focus Productions.

1. Pitch your film in 30 words or less.

A dark comedy about a teenage alcoholic who blatantly disregards life's responsibilities while struggling to balance the fallout from a life filled with sex, violence and alienation.

2. Describe the best or worst day of shooting.

Our most challenging day was definitely the day we shot the last scene of the film. The saying 'time is money' is never more true than on a film set and we fought to make every minute of the day count. We were shooting outside of a school, fighting daylight in a location that would have been very difficult to re-secure. Emotions were running high, we were sharing the location with some sort of dance recital which was using a different part of the school and there was a lot to cover as we fought the elements. Thankfully due to our amazing cast and crew and our patient AD Erin Pope, we somehow made the day and everything worked out. As much as days like that make you want to tear your hair out in the moment, they make the end result that much more satisfying and are needed to keep you on your toes and remind you how delicate the whole process is.

3. What other festivals have you shown the film at?

VIFF is actually only our second festival so far. We premiered the film at the New York City International Film Festival in August where it was very warmly received. We ended up being nominated for best picture and our lead Daniel MacLean won an award for best lead actor. It was a nice introduction to the festival circuit and gave us a nice boost of confidence as we prepare for our big Canadian premiere here in Vancouver.

4. What's the strangest question you have been asked about your film?

When you watch a movie, you grow a relationship with the characters and feel their triumphs and their failures. Without giving too much away, Brian has his fair share of tragedies and failures that he brings upon himself and I've had people ask 'Why did you make this happen to him?' The fallout is logical and they know damn well why these things happen to him, but they want to know why I would allow it to. I'm not sure they would be much happier if I stepped into the frame with a big white beard and robe and saved the day every time the characters have to pay the consequences for their actions.

5. What movies are you hoping to catch at VIFF?

I'm always curious to see what can be done on a shoestring budget, so I'm curious to check out MODRA - another small Canadian flick that was apparently shot using first time actors and family members which is racking up some good reviews. I'm also quite curious about seeing Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. I know very little about the flick, but it there are two 'Uncle B's' at the festival, why wouldn't you check the second one out?

The 29th Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 30 to October 15.

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