TORONTO – Award-winning Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) filmmaker Trevor Mack has a new short film making its world premiere at the prestigious 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place in the heart of the entertainment district in Toronto from September 7th to 17th. The actor, writer, and director collaborated with executive producer Kelton Stepanowich and co-writer Derek Vermillion and shot the film on the Mack’s Tl’etinqox reserve in the interior of British Columbia, Canada.
ʔEtsu (Grandmother) is shot through the perspective of a young boy as he tries to connect with his late-grandmother through an old VHS camcorder he finds at her home. The film includes striking frenetic, glitchy images that help reveal the trauma and grief the boy is going through.
“The film was made as a proof-of-concept for a feature film the three of us are working on to shoot next summer.” Mack stated, “Kelton said ‘hey, here’s $500. Go make it,’ and it came together very quickly after that.”
“It’s a film about loneliness, confusion, grief, and memory.” the Tsilhqot’in filmmaker explains, “My grandmother was a big part of my life and when myself and Derek were thinking of a short story to make the proof-of-concept with, I instantly knew what I wanted to do.”
“So far all of the films I’ve made could not have existed without the help of my Tsilhqot’in communities, and this film isn’t an exception. I used my cousins as actors and the reason why is because non-actors’ reactions and cadence is truly genuine.”
Elaborating on the unique visual effects that occur throughout the film, Mack says he collaborated with Vancouver filmmaker Asia Youngman. “Asia has an incredible artistic eye, and is very technologically-savvy, so when I needed somebody to help me with this vision I had, I knew she’d easily be able to pull it off. And the visuals in the film look straight up legit. It’s something I’ve never seen before, and I hope audiences will be as impressed with it as we all were.”
Trevor Mack’s previous films The Blanketing (2013) premiered at the 2013 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and Clouds of Autumn (2015) which premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Clouds of Autumn took home ‘Best Canadian Short Drama’ at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, best cinematography at the 2016 Air Canada enRoute Film Festival, and the ‘Prix Jeunesse’ at the Festival Cine Alter’Natif 2016.
ʔEtsu (Grandmother) is apart of the Short Cuts Programme 3 and will screen at 4:00PM on Saturday, September 9th, as well as 6:30PM on Friday, September 15th at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto, Ontario. The program includes another film by an Indigenous director Caroline Monnet titled Creatura Dada