Category Archives: Interviews

WINNIPEG LEGEND JOHN PAIZS CHATS WITH 366

Director , best known for his Canadian cult comedy Crime Wave (in which a silent screenwriter played by the director struggles to pen the ultimate “colour crime” movie in his quest to reach “the Top!”), graciously agreed to answer some questions for 366 Weird Movies about his homegrown Winnipeg masterpiece and other topics.

Questions from Gregory J. Smalley:

You, , and now are all Winnipeg natives, and all of you make movies that reinvent the styles of older films, with nostalgic irony but also genuine appreciation. Can we say there’s an actual “Winnipeg school” of filmmaking? If so, what brought this style about—is there something in the water in Winnipeg?

That’s a good question. Yes, it does appear to have become something of a thing regarding Winnipeg, this particular style of filmmaking. As for what brought it about, if not something in the water (which is an entirely reasonable supposition!), my next best guess would be possibly something to do with our winters. Have you ever spent a winter in Winnipeg? Though now thanks to climate change, this may never be provable, unfortunately!

What are “colour crime movies” in Crime Wave’s world? Any real-life examples of the genre you were thinking of?

Crime Wave (1985)
Behind-the-scenes photo from Crime Wave, courtesy John Paizs

The colour crime movie was simply the kind of movie that Crime Wave’s movie-maker protagonist, Steven Penny, aspired to make. Inspired by classic-era “noirs” movies, his idea was to reinvent them—supercharge them if you will—and all importantly, add colour! They were to be in colour, unlike almost all the real-life examples of the genre of course. As for any I may have been thinking of myself, none specifically. Though just last year I happened to catch one that if I had seen it back when I was first cooking up Crime Wave may very well have become key to my own inspiration. And its poster actually, coincidentally, hangs in Steven Penny’s apartment over the garage in Crime Wave! It’s a punchy little noir from 1955 called Hell’s Island. It’s packed with all the clichés of the genre, which of course we all love, and, very rare for a classic-era noir (and probably a lot closer to nonexistent at this one’s obviously a lot closer to nonexistent budget level), it’s in colour!

The protagonist of Crime Wave, Steven Penny, has no trouble writing the beginnings and endings of screenplays, but struggles with middles. So of course the obvious question is, is this an autobiographical comment?

In terms of screenplays in their totality—not just struggling with middles!—yes, very much an autobiographical comment. In fact completely. Just prior to writing Crime Wave I’d written a handful of feature-length screenplays, all of which did not work out for one reason or another. And on the night that I was sitting at my kitchen Continue reading WINNIPEG LEGEND JOHN PAIZS CHATS WITH 366

QUELQUES MOTS AVEC LE MAÎTRE DU “PANDEMONIUM”

Despite the ominously grey threat of rain, the week started off well with a conversation both edifying and gratifying. The target of today’s piercing queries was none other than all-around-artiste, Quarxx, who provided a pleasantly black-toned sartorial counterpoint to this interviewer’s candy-colored clothing. He’s an affable fellow, however, and happily discusses his creative background, elucidates his new film Pandemonium, and does us the pleasure of recommending two Parisian must-taste restaurants.

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TSUKAHARA-SAN DIVES DEEPLY INTO “KURAYUKABA”

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Read the full review of Kurayukaba.

It is always a delight to converse with the talented filmmakers I have come to expect at Fantasia, but it is especially gratifying to be the first on the North American continent to interview a new star on the scene. Through the interpretational skills of Michio Hirai, director (and producer Shinnosuke Yoshida) talk with 366 about his new feature-length debut, Kurayukaba, going in depth about his development as an animator and a storyteller.

366: Thank you very kindly for agreeing to talk with me today. My name is Giles Edwards, 366 Weird Movies. We hunt down strange cinema, non-mainstream kinds of things. I am seated now with Shigeyoshi Tsukahara, and off over to the side is producer Shinnosuke Yoshida, and yesterday was the international premiere of Kurayukaba. I want to open up with: what drew you to storytelling through animation?

Shigeyoshi Tsukahara: That is a difficult question! First, when I was a student, I was making various animes myself, so expressing myself through animation was already something I was used to. There wasn’t a specific moment, or time in my life when I thought, “I’m going to express myself through anime!” No, it was already something that was when I just noticed it.

I really liked to play around with PCs, and fiddling and made some drawings on PCs, and then I started making them move, and there you go: animation!

366: Yes, images moving—animation indeed!

ST: [laughs]

366: The style you have is dissimilar to much of what I’ve seen. There are watercolor elements, there’s a “papery layering” to the image, and I was curious to how you developed that singular style, and what inspired that artistic choice.

ST: Another difficult question! I’m not really sure how and where I went to that. It did evolve into that, but I’m not sure. I was trying to find the animation style that made me feel good, and I ended up where it is now.

366: As reasonable an answer as I could hope to ask for.

There is one dominant visual theme in the three animations we saw, the two shorts and the feature film, all heavily involving trains and—how to phrase this? There’s a “mechanization”, not electrical per-se, but how the interest developed in that [kind of technology], because there’s a focus on that in nearly every frame: trains, cities of a certain period, and even the clockwork vignettes within the animations surrounding them.

ST: Another interesting question… One of the things that inspired Continue reading TSUKAHARA-SAN DIVES DEEPLY INTO “KURAYUKABA”

TWO FILMMAKERS, ONE COLLAPSING LOBBY, AND “HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS”

Hundreds of beavers there were, and nine members of the team attended the screening. However, 366 was only able to trap two of them. The good news is, we bagged ourselves the two primary movers and shakers behind Hundreds of Beavers. Please forgive the sound quality: the interviewer is a bit too loud, and for whatever reason we decided to record in a lobby going through considerable demolition.

Be Advised: Spoilers by the Hundreds

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WHO KNOWS “WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS,” BUT THE FAMILY ADAMS IS HERE WITH US

Where the Devil Roams review.

Four filmmakers, one family, and a big ol’ bloody pile of Depression Era violence. Matriarch Tobey Poser along with her husband John Adams, and their daughters Lulu and Zelda, are some of the most fun people to chat with, particularly when you’re talking horror, symbolism, and American myth. So sit ye back and learn more about their latest feature, Where the Devil Roams.

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