Body Swap: Switching Places For Love?

Written by Luke Barnes

Body Swap is a comedy romance film directed by Timothy Morton. The plot sees CJ (Ella Jordan), a powerful business woman and Casey (Jimmy Kustes), a slacker switch places- hijinks ensue.

Whilst this may not be the most original premise, there is still a lot of fun to be had here. Body swap films are quite rare these days, yes you have your Freaky’s and your Princess Switches’ as recent examples, but when you look at the genre as a whole there really haven’t been a lot recently. I for one am glad to see any film bring the concept back, it always makes for great fun.

Fun would be the word I would use to describe this film, as though it is not side splittingly funny it does provide a few laughs and more than enough smile inducing moments: from start to finish I had a smile on my face. I think both the comedy and romance elements work well, and nicely compliment the film.

Moreover, I thought both Jordan and Kustes played their respective roles with enough charm and awkward comedy that they sold it, with each making their character feel likeable.

However, my biggest compliment has to go to the writer as this film knew how to use the body swap premise to its fullest.

Overall, a fun film that is a blast to watch.

Pros.

Body swapping madness

Strong leads

Very easy to smile at

A wholesome romance elements

Cons.

We have seen this before

4/5

Interview With Michael Caradonna (Producer) And Geoff Ryan (Writer/ Director): Blood From Stone

Written by Luke Barnes

Hey Everyone! I recently had the chance to chat to Michael Caradonna (the producer) and Geoff Ryan (the writer/director) about their neo-noir, western, vampire flick Blood From Stone. We talk about

Q: How would you sum up Blood From Stone in a word?

MC:  Honest. I have been a fan of the Vampire genre for as long as I’ve been a fan of film. Blood From Stone shows the realistic problems today’s vampires would deal with should they really exist.

GR: Unique. I wanted to make something different from anything else out there – for better or for worse – and judging from both critic and audience reviews it seems like we succeeded. 

Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?

MC – I enjoy films of all genres which has opened the door to appreciating the likes of Soderbergh, Kubrick, Scorsese, Lucas and Spielberg, but looking at a whole catalogue, I’d have to say Quentin Tarantino. From writing True Romance to his latest Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he inspires me as a Producer.

GR – So many to choose from! With this one I’d have to say the most overt influence would be Tarantino. From the genre-blending to the character banter punctuated by extreme violence, to the non-traditional story structure… it’s got a lot of his early works influencing it.

Other big influences would be Peter Greenaway, Paul Verhoeven, Robert Altman, The Coen Bros, and on and on…

Q: Other than your film, what is your favourite vampire film?

MC – Many films come to mind, but I would say Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. There was always something gritty and honest with that film and one of the first films I thought of when I read Blood From Stone.

GR – Let the Right One In. I love that it’s a great movie that perfectly balances being a beautiful character story and a haunting vampire tale.

Q: How did you gauge the emotional tone of this film, between having the character seem sympathetic whilst also being a blood thirty monster? 

MC – I defer this question to my writer/director Geoff Ryan.

GR – As anyone who has been in a toxic relationship knows, the emotions can go from deep love to vicious hate in a matter of seconds. Or, at the big picture level, how a society with so many enlightened and progressive advancements is still capable of primal brutality, selfishness, and tribalism. To me, vampire lore was a perfect way to explore these ideas: It was a way to explore the way our own worst impulses, no matter how much we try to deny them to ourselves or bury them in the past, still make up so much of who we truly are. None of the characters want to be monsters and go to great lengths to convince themselves they are good people (and in many ways they are), but their actions matter. I wanted to really show how actions have consequences no matter our good intentions.  It is something all of us do. I personally might not be a vampire or a killer, but I am a citizen of a nation that wages wars, I buy products from exploitive companies, I eat once living animals, I’m sometimes a crappy friend, and so on. These are things I don’t want to define me but to those who are impacted by these actions it is who I am. And, so, in the story it’s about the search for balance and how we live with the monster inside of us. 

Q: Do you have any funny on-set stories?

MC – Oh my, where do I start?  The crew that worked together on this film was full of its own great characters. From the encounters with the Las Vegas Police Department when I get pulled over while getting the crew food at 3am and they discovered “blood” all over the back seat, to casino security, with hand on gun, following up on a video feed showing dead bodies being dragged down a hall where there were supposed to be no people. We had such a great time on set. While getting every shot that Geoff required, there were infinite moments of fun, laughter and comradery.

GR – So many funny stories! This was really a once-in-a-lifetime type of film for me because the team that came together to work on this was a phenomenal group of fun people. Add to that the ridiculousness of what we were filming, and it made for some funny moments. Like when casino security had to do a safety check because they saw us dragging dead bodies through the hallways or having to explain to a policeman who pulled us over why there were blood stains all over our car (my car’s backseat is still a blood stained mess). On the Blu-Ray there’s a bloopers segment that captures some of the fun but nowhere near the almost constant state of joking, hijinks, and lunacy we went through. 

Q: How would you describe the current state of the Vampire horror sub-genre?

MC – Just as in the myths and legends, vampires will never die. While I am biased, I think that Blood From Stone is up there with many other great vampire films throughout filmmaking history. There are many bad vampire films that are good and many good ones that do not get the attention they should. Every once in a while there is a film that truly stands out like The Hunger, The Lost Boys and even What We Do In the Shadows. These films draw us in and, as fans, we suck it all up. The current state of the Vampire films is alive and well.

GR – Just like all movie genres, there’s a ton of mediocre-to-bad with some exceptionally unique and amazing work shining through. Plus, there’s some really exciting new Dracula/Nosferatu films in the pipeline that I’m eagerly anticipating. Much like vampires themselves, the genre won’t ever die, and great artists will continue making great vampire films while some will suck the corpse dry for whatever cash-grab potential it has. 

Q: Was there a message you were trying to communicate with the film? And if so what was it?

MC – I defer this question to my writer/director Geoff Ryan.

GR – I kind of touched on it in the early question about tone but the primary theme I wanted to explore was about our interconnectedness. It’s why the two main characters only share two scenes together: I wanted to tell a story of how their lives are connected even when their actions aren’t directly to each other. And, I intentionally told the story in a way that offers a lot of ideas in a way that will allow the audience to create their own opinions on it. It’s been fascinating to hear from audiences about how they see the characters and the story. Some see it as a tragedy, some as a love story, some as a dark comedy. Some people think Jure is a monster and others think Darya is the real monster. 

But the most important line of the film to me is when Viktoria tells Jure, “There are no endings, only cycles. It’s your choice: Creation or destruction, vengeance or forgiveness.” This to me is the message of the film. We all have those choices in our lives. Are we creators or destroyers? Do we seek forgiveness for our own sins, or do we seek vengeance for wrongs against us? The choices we each make will shape the future for humanity. Do we circle back to another dark ages or do we progress forward into a brighter future? 

Q: How important were western and neo-noir elements to you as you were filming? 

MC – I defer this question to my writer/director Geoff Ryan.

GR – To me they were very important! For Jure, the movie is a western. For Darya, it’s a noir. Even the score represents this with Jure’s music being composed of guitar, banjo, and lap steel to evoke that country/western vibe. And Darya’s music is reminiscent of Bladerunner with pulsing Moog and sparkling synth Arpeggios. He’s rooted in the old world and she aspires for the future. 

Westerns especially are iconic American stories. The lone hero is a trope that has its virtues but also has been used to justify some of the worst elements of our society from our wars (“You’re either with us or against us”) to our gun culture (“Only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”). Jure sees himself as this lone hero. At the beginning, he’s riding into town to save the girl, and at the end: He’s riding off into the sunset (or sunrise). He sees himself as the good guy, even a god amongst men, but modern society has forced him into the shadows. He resents this new era where he can no longer act with impunity. It was often joked that Jure should wear a hat that says, “Make Vampires Great Again”. 

Similarly in noir it was often a “damsel in distress” that turned to the guy to save her, but she was usually hiding a dark secret. And Darya at first is portrayed to be that “damsel in distress” but over the course of the film she evolves into a force of nature. She is from an old world and holds an old idea of who she should be. She hides her true self just wanting “to be normal”.  But over the course of the story there are glimmers of light showing her breaking through that and discovering her power to shape her own destiny. 

Q: Sequel ideas and future plans?

MC – I defer this question to my writer/director Geoff Ryan.

GR – I would love to! It kind of sets itself up for one and I have notes for where the story will go. Much like this one had a yin & yang between Jure and Darya, the sequel would have that between past and present. It would juxtapose life for the vampire women of the story after Jure (spoiler!) and life for him before modern society – and how those timelines impact each other. Sort of like a hybrid of Unforgiven and Thelma & Louise told through Aronofsky’s The Fountain! But, unless Blood From Stone develops a much bigger fan base than it currently has, the prospects for a sequel are unlikely. 

Q: If Blood From Stone ever won an Oscar or other award who would you thank in your acceptance speech?

MC – First and foremost, Geoff Ryan for trusting me to produce this project for him followed by the rest of the amazing Blood From Stone family. Geoff Black, Nika, Adeshola, Sarah, Alethea, Carl, Steven and, of course, our solid cast, including our stars, Vanya and Gabriella. Thanks to all of you!

GR – My BFS Family: Our small and wonderful team who put so much of their trust, time and talent into helping make my crazy fever dream a reality on a budget that did not merit the scale of what we made. Linda & Michael of Indie Rights who believed in this film back when it was just a concept in my brain. The people of Las Vegas who opened their doors and contributed so much to this movie. And, my cat Pafoofa who passed before the film came out, but her voice is immortalized in the music score. 

If you would like to check out Blood From Stone you can find it on all good digital media marketplaces, Vudu, Amazon and of course you can buy the Blu-ray and DVD director’s cut as well. As always I have a review up of the film on my site now, so check that out as well!

Falcon And The Winter Soldier: New World Order

Written by Luke Barnes

Falcon And The Winter Soldier is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the second Disney + offering. The plot sees Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), existing in a post Endgame and post Captain America world.

As far as first episodes to event TV shows go this one is quite slow. There is a fairly tame opening action set piece to start with, but the main purpose of this episode entitled New World Order is to function as a character study of the two leads- and to clearly define where they are at, both as heroes and as people.

This episode delves into some quite deep areas, such as loss, accountability and self-loathing and is far darker than most content coming out of the MCU in recent years. The show feels mature, and the themes and ideas explored further this as they feel very real and lived rather than fantastical.

Moreover, this episode also has a socio-political/ racial message to it, which again is a first for the MCU. Whilst not being overt and choosing to use the returned people after the blip as a standin for oppressed Black Americans, the metaphor is clear. Sadly, this will make the episode polarising as there will be those asking to keep real world politics out of this action/ fantasy show.

In terms of wider lore building this episode introduces us to the new Captain America (Wyatt Russell), who will factor into the events of the show heavily going forward. Likewise the new villainous group the Flag Smashers are also introduced, and this is important as comics wise this group has ties to the New World Order, The Masters Of Evil and The Dark Avengers- so might be an indication as to wear the MCU is heading.

Overall, not what I was expecting, far slower and more introspective, however it does do some great character work and sets up a series of interesting events to come.

Pros.

Bucky’s arc

Sam’s arc

Setting up battles to come

Cons.

It is very slow

It might be too political for some

The new Captain America reveal feels a bit rushed

2.5/5

Beware The Slenderman: A Look Into The Dark Heart Of The Internet

Written by Luke Barnes

Beware The Slenderman is a documentary directed by Irene Taylor, centring around the internet creepypasta figure of Slenderman, and the real world nightmare that saw two young girls stab one of their classmates multiple times in an effort to appease the fictional being.

I remember when I was a teen and Slenderman was all the rage, it was a huge moment in internet folklore history. I think the idea of a shared communal myth is so fascinating, and that is really what Slenderman is, an idea added to over and over again and turned into something much bigger than it began as.

This documentary is very bleak, but you knew that coming in. Tragic is the word I would use to describe the events that this documentary highlights, it raises questions around how does the content we view affect us on a psychological level and, where is parental accountability when it comes to policing what your kid watches and doesn’t watch?

I think the documentary does quite a good job in explaining what Slenderman is, they also have folklore experts as talking heads to talk about the idea of building and creating myth which I think is a truly strong choice in this regard.

I think using the girl’s families as talking heads to explain the events that transpired is both a pro and a con, it is a con in that there will inevitably be a degree of bias there especially when it is parent child as it is here, however, it is also a pro as it allows us to have a uniquely personal view into the incident.

Overall, a strong documentary that raises a number of good points and provides a thorough and well thought out investigation into internet urban legends.

Pros.

The personal access to the case

A good explanation of Slenderman and the internet urban legend

A number of thought provoking questions are raised

A solid pace throughout

Cons.

Bias creeps in

4/5

Bend It Like Beckham: David Beckham Really Is In Every Film

Written by Luke Barnes

Bend It Like Beckham is a sport coming of age comedy film directed by Gurinder Chadha. The plot sees Jess (Parminder Nagra), try to pursue a career in football despite her parents wishes.

I enjoyed this films depiction of ‘football mad England’, its approach is far more subtle and thoughtful than films like Football Factories or Green Streets would have you believe. I thought Jess as a character was very easy to warm to, and also very relatable. We could see the identity crisis she was facing, and we sympathise as the character almost becomes like a friend to us over the course of the film.

I thought the ending of the film were she gets to go and become a professional footballer in America is heart warming and just the right amount of feel good resolution that makes you think ‘hey maybe things will be okay’.

My main issue with the film would be that the central romance between Joe (Johnathan Rhys Meyers), and Jess is troublesome on several levels. Firstly, the love triangle between Jess, Jules (Keira Knightly), and Joe feels a bit too male fantasy, and secondly because he is the coach of the team and both of his female love interests are players on the team, meaning the power dynamic is icky.

A bigger question not just for this film, but also applicable more generally, was a romance plot line actually needed at all?

Overall, a feel good film on the surface but troublesome underneath.

Pros.

Nagra

Knightley

The ending

Cons.

The romance plot line

Some of the wider messages

2.5/5

The Mauritanian: Deeply Uncomfortable, But Needed Viewing

Written by Luke Barnes

The Mauritanian is a drama film directed by Kevin MacDonald. The film serves as an adaption of the Guantanamo Diaries by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, with the plot recounting the experiences of Salahi as he was detained by the United States Government, without a charge, for 16 years in Guantanamo Bay.

This is a powerful film. Tahar Rahim’s central performance is simply magnificent; it is no wonder that it is receiving so much awards attention. Rahim plays the character in a very human way, and that is fundamental to the film. We see the torture he endures, and it makes for very uncomfortable viewing but also very needed viewing, as it causes us to rethink our society and see where we are going wrong.

Jodie Foster has a supporting turn as Salahi’s Lawyer who spends the film fighting for his release and gives almost as good a performance as Rahim, but not quite. Foster commands the screen and makes for some very memorable scenes. The acting across the board in this film is great.

My one complaint of this film is that it is a little overly long, about 80% of this film is vital and is must watch, however there are a few scenes that run too long, or could have done with being cut out to make the film tighter.

Overall, a magnificent film that makes you rethink the world and that proves Rahim as a name to watch out for on the big screen for years to come.

Pros

Rahim

Foster

Showing the torture and doing it in an impactful way that provokes a strong response#

Recontextualising history

Cons.

A few pacing issues

4.5/5

Slaxx: Skinny Jeans Really Will Be The Death Of You

Written by Luke Barnes

Slaxx is a horror comedy film directed Elza Kephart. The plot sees the workers of a fashion store come under attack when a possessed pair of jeans goes on a murderous rampage.

This is one of the best surprises I’ve had recently. Though this film’s premise sounds absurd it is actually surprisingly well executed, and actually quite thoughtful as well. The backstory of how the jeans came to be possessed, and yes there is a significant backstory put in place for this, which I won’t spoil as this is a fairly new film is actually inspired and has a spot on message behind it.

The jean kills, are hilarious in the best way. A few made me laugh out loud, and the rest made me chuckle, they are so comically over the top and gory it is perfect. The unique nature of watching a pair of jeans kill someone is something that really hasn’t been covered much in the horror genre and this film makes up for that in a big way.

The acting is serviceable, and they manage to sell the serious threat of the possessed jeans rather than breaking down laughing so I will give them props for that.

Overall, a hilariously silly horror comedy film that you should definitely check out.

Pros.

The hilarious premise

A surprisingly deep backstory for the jeans

The jean kills

The gore

Cons.

The characters are a bit thin

4.5/5

Interview With Andrew J.D Robinson: The Writer/ Director Of Confessions Of A Haunting

Written by Luke Barnes

Hey Everyone! I recently had the chance to chat to Andrew J.D Robinson, the writer director behind Confessions Of A Haunting, a short film wherein a grieving character receives a message from the other side. We talk, ghosts, ghouls and of course David Lynch, I hope you like it.

Q: If you had to sum the film up in one word what would it be?

A: ‘Catharsis’.

 Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?

A: Cinema is a powerful medium that’s both provocative and a rewarding trade to create in. It brings in all of my passions with the arts, and any project can demand different elements. When it comes to what inspires me to have storytelling be one of my callings in life, I’m inspired by the need to reach others whether it’s to arrive to some nuanced deeper feelings together or simply to entertain (which the horror genre has been a lot of fun to dedicate to) as if these stories are little amusement park rides. There’s been many filmmakers who’ve inspired me or helped me find my voice, but pound-for-pound David Lynch’s work, despite how many times I continue to revisit them, continues to fan that ember in me to want to take something familiar and twist it; to in a sense boil it down to its roots, in an attempt to really connect something for the viewer that they perhaps may not arrive to with your regular scheduled programming.

Q: What was your catalyst for making this film?

A:  I certainly strived to create an inner dialogue for viewers who could see themselves relating to this push-pull angst experienced between loved ones, but also in hopes they receive to its bottom line message.

 Q: What was your message with this film?

A: Its bottom line message is ‘Don’t become the evil that this world gave you and give it to someone else’. In this case it’s those feelings of neglect, abandonment etc that our protagonist expresses that her late father caused her; how it’s haunted her up until this point in her life despite, yet her daughter tries to play with her and she sidelines, implying his ‘cycle’ of a lack of expressed and attentive love is generational, which many can relate to. Its supernatural twist, that her father tells her to break the cycle, is his way of wishing better for her and hers.

Q: Do you have any funny on set stories from the production?

A: Hehe well this film was produced remotely so there was no face-to-face anecdotes. Julie, however, is a great personality, but we executed the project virtually via text where we carved it out and after some back-and-forth she went ahead and recorded what is the only take she sent me. She killed it and then I handled the rest in post-production.

 Q: How much is your film a comment on grief and coping?

 A: The film is absolutely a commentary on grief and coping; a showcase of it. I find too there’s people I’ve met in my life who aren’t as upfront or confronting with ‘how they feel’; they’re more lost in subtext, which always motivates me to write characters who get right to it and ‘let you in’, especially about grief which permeates through everything. It’s almost the elephant in the room.

 Q: How did you decide to include the supernatural twist in the film?

A: To have the father’s ghost tell her to ‘break the cycle’ is a paradox where (1) if you believe in ghosts, then this is a lovely ‘arrival’ for the protagonist in her life, but (2) I’m certain many of us feel that life won’t work out this way like it does in the movies where we may catch onto having a second chance… so for those who receive to it, they can reflect how ‘they themselves’ have to recognize they need to understand the past in order to not repeat it.

Q: If you could go back in time to when you were a novice filmmaker first starting out what advice would you give yourself?

 A: For one, where I am now is one of the most happiest places I’ve been with filmmaking where I know my ‘why’. My why isn’t to turn profit, to chase Hollyweird, or to ‘prove something’, rather, I just enjoy doing it. I enjoy the people I can meet. Naturally you’ll run into all sorts of ‘characters’, but for the most part I can say with a straight face that I’ve collaborated with some of the most genuine people who love stories, love becoming part of stories, just as much as I am. The fact we can ‘create art’ and not just be machines or something is wonderful, and it doesn’t have to take a lot to make a project. So what I’d tell myself back then would be that the enjoyment won’t come at the ‘destination’, but in ‘the journey’; the journey shared with your peers and viewers who receive to your weird little movies lol. Nevermind about trying to be ‘the best’ or if you have the right gear etc etc… find out asap ‘why’ you even do this just like when you were younger when you’d draw ‘just because you enjoyed to; absent of any well if you’re going to spend so much time on something, you better be making money from it’ mentality so rampant. ‘Passion’ should always be Plan A with our limited time here. That’s what I would remind the very stressed, hyper, and insecure past filmmaker I was coming up lol.

Q: If you ever won an Oscar or other award who would you thank in your acceptance speech?

 A: I’d have to thank my family for always telling me they just want me to be happy with whatever I do in life, with never expecting me to go to University and become a doctor or something. I’d thank everyone who not only ‘believed in me’, but invested their dreams into me, entrusting themselves in me to lead them through the unknown and these ‘visions’, these projects together. For everyone inside and outside of filmmaking who give me their time and energy, that’s the most valuable thing you can give to someone: their time. Let alone finding people along this adventure who wish to ‘share time’ with you, I owe everything to them, because it’s immeasurable how much and how far that can take someone.

If you would like to check out Confessions Of A Haunting you can find it on Youtube now, and as always I have a review of the film up of site now!

Confessions Of A Haunting: Passing On

Written by Luke Barnes

Confessions of a Haunting is a horror, drama short film directed by Andre J.D Robinson. The plot sees a woman (Julie Mainville) talk into an online confessional about a recent loss she has suffered in her family, as she does a voice can be heard talking back- presumably a voice from the other-side.

I will never cease to be surprised by the wonders filmmakers are achieving during lockdown. Though the premise and set up of this film are quite simple, they are used to great effect, both in terms of horror and drama.

On the drama side of things, the monologue delivered by Mainville is deeply personal and touching. We have all lost someone in our lives, or most at least, and can relate to what she is going through. The dialogue manages to become affecting and have an emotional impact which is always a positive sign.

In terms of horror, when we first hear the voice from the other-side it is shocking, because as you approach the midpoint you think that the short will be about this person coming to terms with their loss and that the horror on display will be emotional. However, when it does take a supernatural turn it is surprising and unnerving and you being to question what is happening.

Overall, a sad and creepy affair that is made as strong as it is by the writing.

Pros.

It is well written

It makes you feel something

The supernatural turn is unexpected

Mainville

Cons.

Could do with further expansion, maybe a few extra minutes

4/5

Interview With Ross Munro: Writer/ Director For European Tour 73

Hey Everyone! I recently had a chance to interview Ross Munro, the writer director behind European Tour 73 a documentary film with animated elements about Monroe’s family holiday to Europe when he was a child. We discuss, travel, family and Fellini. I hope you enjoy.

Q: If you had to sum up European Tour 73 in a word what would it be?

A: Memories

Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?  

A: Fellini for his wild inventiveness and powerfully visual poetic sense combined with his dreamlike sensibilities and almost child-like sense of nostalgia. I grew up going to movies in the early 1970s so the New Hollywood filmmakers like Scorsese and Altman were also a big influence. More currently I’m excited by Tarantino and PT Anderson.

Q: What was your catalyst for making the film?

A: As both my mother and father have passed away, I felt compelled to make “ET’73” as a loving tribute to them and their memories and, in a way, to immortalize this crazy trip they took us all on back in 1973 as it seemed like a seminal event that really defined and brought us together as a family.

Q: If you could go back in time to when you were first starting out as a filmmaker what would be some advice you would give yourself?

 A: I would tell myself to break through the fear that I had about moving forward to make films and that it’s okay to make “mistakes” as they are actually learning experiences that in the long run will make you a better artist and person. Also, try and take a little time to absorb and enjoy the journey of making your films and don’t worry so much about the destination down the road. Also, always try to seek out like-minded, passionate collaborators.

Q: What made you decide to include animation in your film?

A: With “European Tour ’73” we knew from the beginning that we wanted to tell the story of our family’s trip to Europe using every visual element in the cinematic toolbox- along with the core of Super 8mm film that composed the heart of the film, we used stock footage, photos, live action footage that we shot and so animation was the next logical extension of how to tell our story. It was quite exciting to work with the animator on these segments and really added a new, exciting dimension to our film that viewers have repeatedly commented on favourably. I’m actually planning on doing more original animation for our next documentary as well.

Q: How did you decide on the balance between animation and stock footage within your film?  

A: The goal was always to just punctuate our film with the animated segments to add depth and humour and insight to the proceedings- of course once the film was completed I had more ideas that I would have loved to see in the film but, alas, that’s always the case when you look at a finished film: you always see the things you wish you’d included.

Q: What would you say the message of European Tour 73 is?

A: Oddly, I’ve never been asked that before. I’d say the message is to appreciate the time you are gifted on this planet to spend time with your family and loved ones. Even though the film is very joyful I can’t but help to feel also a small sliver of sadness that my parents and my eldest brother Jim- who passed while we worked on the film- never had a chance to see “European Tour ’73” as it’s a testament to my memories of them as much as anything.

Q: Within the family unit how important do you think shared experiences are?

A: I think you can’t overstate the importance of shared family experiences- especially growing up. My parents always strived to raise us in a manner where myself and my five siblings always did things together- the trip to Europe back in 1973 being the highlight of that philosophy. Because of their efforts to have us do things constantly as a family unit, I was able to move on through life having a great relationship with all my brothers and sister- almost like we are friends. This bedrock foundation is absolutely a direct result of my parents notion that we share as much time as possible as a family growing up.

Q: Would you one day take your kids (or potential kids if you don’t have any yet), on the same tour?

A: Not having kids (I guess my movies now represent my children- and how naughty they’ve been let me tell you…!), I’ve never had to contemplate this undertaking but one of the reasons I undertook this movie was also that I was amazed that my parents would actually bring all of us small kids barnstorming around Europe all tightly packed into a camper van for 6 weeks! Also, it seems crazy to me that I’ve never returned to Europe since that trip nearly 50 years ago! My wife, Maria, (who’s also the Producer of the movie as well as most of my past and future movies) and I really want to go to Europe someday soon and we look forward to screening our film in the many countries I visited in the film. This would, in a way, bring the whole journey of “European Tour ’73” full circle.

If you want to watch European Tour 73, it is currently playing on the virtual film festival circuit and will be playing in Canadian cinemas once the pandemic is under control, as always I have a review up on my site now!