As we gear up for National Canadian Film Day, we caught up with several representatives of Vancouver’s film talent: actor Ariel Hansen; directors Gigi Saul Guerrero and Jordan Barnes-Crouse; and producer Carolyn Williams to get their take on horror films, women protagonists and the special event itself.
Ariel revealed that unlike performing in other genres, horror relies a great deal more on imaginary circumstances.
“ As a horror actor, you draw from parallels to life rather than from real life itself” she elaborates, and she enjoys this challenge. Carolyn also enjoys overcoming the obstacles of creating genre films. She explains “Indie horror films in particular offer the interesting challenge of balancing stories with complex visuals and practical effects while working with very limited budgets!” Gigi adds that “in horror its so important to have just enough budget for certain departments to make your horror film stand out, such as Make Up effects. Blood and Gore is crucial to be pulled off if your horror flick requires it”
While comedies and dramas get labeled as “ chick-flicks” when they have a female protagonists, horror films remain horror films, which is another reason Ariel enjoys her roles in terrifying stories. Jordan adds, “It’s important to see more female characters in general, and in atypical roles.
When you do see a female protagonist, they rarely deviate from social norms, or are often exaggerated for marketability. I’d like to see women depicted in more diverse professions, being capable and proactive rather than simply strong or resilient. Despite the outlandish nature of genre films, I think they’re stronger when the core characters and concepts are treated believably.”
And there are many Canadian genre films to be celebrated on National Canadian Film Day, including Fido and Pontypool (two of Ariel’s favourites). According to her, these two are vivid examples of great Canadian genre filmmaking that, sadly, all too often fly under the radar. National Canadian Film Day is excellent not only because it showcases our talents, but also because it “can showcase how little exposure Canadian films usually get. More people need to see Canadian films,” she concludes, and Jordan agrees, stating, “The flavour of Canadian cinema is really unique, but is sadly underappreciated within the country. This is mainly due to a lack of exhibition, so organizing screenings and giving people the chance to see the incredibly diverse talent we have is fantastic.”
Gigi has her plate full, with her successful short film “El Gigante [being] developed into a feature film”
She plans to begin filming later this year “or immediately in 2017”. Jordan and Carolyn are also working on a new film, Red Sanare, a “wilderness survival tale of sorts that wanders into cosmic horror”, while Ariel is slated to appear in another genre film – Valley of the Rats, directed by Vince D’Amato. This time, she’ll be taking on the role of a private investigator, a woman with strength and agency. Before we see her kick ass and take names in Valley of the Rats, check out Ariel’s performance in ARMS, a dark genre short that screens at NCFD, along with Madre de Dios and O NEGATIVE, presented by Shivers Film Society & Cinemafantastique and WIFTV
By Alina Koval