Famous mentors help make movie a reality
For a young filmmaker, working under the watchful eyes of Oliver Stone and Todd Solondz might be intimidating, since both acclaimed directors have such distinct, eccentric styles. The Oscar-winning Stone infuses controversial films like Natural Born Killers with the frenetic, hallucinogenic bombast of a political rally in a can of nitrous.
And indie favourites Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness are dripping with Solondz’s caustic sense of black humour, like a Sundance screen soaked in bile.
But Montreal’s Marc Wiltshire says the two directors didn’t overwhelm his short film My Avatar – which has its world premiere Sunday at the Fantasia Film Festival. Rather, they helped shape it. “They’re both very rich, deep filmmakers. They really go full on into a subject matter,” says Wiltshire, “(but) they’re just here to guide you.”
Originally from Beaconsfield, the 29-year-old Wiltshire graduated from Concordia University’s communications studies program before being accepted at the Singapore campus of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. “I had never been to Asia, and I didn’t really know much about Singapore,” he says, “so, I backpacked throughout Southeast Asia, made my way down to Singapore … and I just felt right away that this was where I should be for the next three years.”
My Avatar stars Claude O’Steen and Gemini-award winning local actress Christine Ghawi. It tells the story of Mike, a married man who becomes increasingly obsessed with the digital-world simulation Second Life, an expansive online community. There, his virtual self, which takes the form of an angel dressed like the Old Spice guy, is deep in an adulterous relationship with the lovely Gloria SpiritWeaver.