We absolutely love featuring the work and accomplishments of Canadian university students and graduates, especially those that went to Western, but it’s that much more awesome when they also happen to be friends of ours. I had the honour of
drinking with going to school with John Virtue (Tafsir Diallo) a few years ago, and he has since moved on to much bigger things.
John has recently had his short film, “Framed,” accepted into the Cannes Film Festival 2012. The film is about “A screenwriter suffering from writer’s block has to make a choice between saving his gradually deteriorating relationship with an impatient girlfriend or finding an ending to his epic screenplay. In the process of trying to solve both problems, we come to the realization that our external problems are just reflections of our inner conflicts.” -John Virture
We are very excited to see this film ourselves, and wish John the best of luck at Cannes in May. Check out the trailer below, as well as his interview with the Alumni Gazette.
Q. What inspired you to make “Framed”?
A. First and foremost, I’m thankful for my three years at CHRW Radio where I was nourished on a plethora of philosophies, political affiliations, and musical inclinations. If it were not for Grant Stein, Michael Brown, Alicks Girowski, and all the volunteers at CHRW, I doubt I would have pursued this path.
Upon graduation in 2010, and prior to my self-imposed exile to Japan, I was given a book, “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures” as a token, anchor and memento of everything I had learned at CHRW regarding music, politics, social justice, and most importantly, the artistic integrity of film. As CHRW production director I was given a chance to exercise my creative faculties, including the production of A Christmas Carol from an Orson Welles script. CHRW is more than just a radio station. It’s where I consolidated my ideas. It’s where my film career began.
As for “Framed”, I wanted to explore the idea of how writing can be a solitary and anti-social endeavor. Prior to writing the script, I had recently returned from Japan, a week shy of the 2011 tsunami. I was staying with my only direct relative in Canada, my sister. My main inclination was to continuously write until I was able to acquire funding for my first film. However, after two months of writing, meetings, and false promises, my sister began to externalize my impatience. She began pressuring me to find another form of employment, which ultimately led to various shouting matches. I used the cathartic nature of writing to exorcise my frustration. Hence, “Framed”. In the script, I utilized a young couple as surrogates because it’s a more dramatic relationship. Ironically, I had friends in the arts who reported to me that they were suffering a similar condition.
Q. What led you to apply to Cannes? How competitive is it?
A. I had an acquaintance whom I met through my involvement with CHRW. He entered his short film to Cannes last year and was accepted. I subsequently viewed this short at the Wildsound Short Film Festival in Toronto and resolved that mine also had a good chance.
In terms of competition, I haven’t really focused on this component. I’m not there to compete but to celebrate the fact that a year after my intention to enter the film industry, I’ve made it to Cannes. Not many people can make that claim, and I’m also cognizant of the fact that I’ve had many individuals aid me in reaching this benchmark, including my co-producer Alexander Braff, my cameraman Christian Peterson, and my actors Calwyn Shurgold and Shailene Garnett.
Q. What are you working on right now?
I just finished writing a comedy of manners, “Sick Kids” about my social circle. I entered Western with several of my high school friends and, after living in Saugeen our first year, five of us decided to reside together off campus. During the ensuing three years, I started to realize that the basis of our friendship was an affiliation to the same high school. Consequently, as we started declaring different majors, socializing with different groups of people, our once close bond began to weaken. We were turning into different people. I wanted to explore how the dynamics of friendships change as individuals’ lives head into different directions. “Sick Kids” is about three childhood friends who decide to throw an exclusive university graduation party where an infinite number of uninvited guests appear. It was inspired by the the theatre of the absurd and the absurdist films of Spanish-born filmmaker Luis Bunuel.
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