I can’t even remember how many years ago it was that I showed up on a very cold, very dark, very rainy set for The Grey Fox in North Vancouver to interview the late but great Phillip Borsos for the now-defunct Toronto-based magazine, Cinema Canada .
I was putting myself through journalism school by waitressing at the also now-defunct but legendary Orestes’ in Vancouver. The Greek restaurant cum bacchanalian zoo was dubbed the longest running show on Broadway by owners Blaine Culling and Aristedes Pasparakis (yes, it was on the street of the same name). One of the regulars who was in the film industry — he probably gathered material for his work from the Orestes’ scene — suggested the magazine needed a Vancouver stringer: Why didn’t I give it a try?
Why not, indeed? The big pay off was — sit down — 10 cents a word. That’s right: research and write, for instance, a 500-word piece on Borsos and what he was doing with his debut feature film which, by the way, turned out to be a landmark for the Canadian film industry and the cocky young filmmaker who died too young, and you got a big 50 bucks.
But you also got to hang out in the long shadow of the big screen. This alone was what spurred me across Lions Gate Bridge in my rickety VW, shivering in my black vinyl raincoat, to talk with Borsos. Mercifully, he was gracious enough in dealing with a student journalist who hadn’t a clue about filmmaking in general or the Canadian film industry in particular, except that the craft service looked mighty good.
We all have in us a streak of the dramatic and a killer need for celebrity, and so with that anecdotal nod to the Whistler Film Festival, which kicks off today, I thought it only fitting to talk about food and films. Not that there’s a Babette’s Feast II or anything of the sort lurking in the wings this year, and definitely not, as already noted, that I’m even remotely expert on the film industry, although I do wield a pretty mean remote at home.
But I did attend a lecture not so long ago by Vancouver-based
Harry Killas, who shot his first film in the ninth grade and later went on to
make a spoof on
, which he shot in five days.