The 2008 installment of the Make It Short Film Project marks not only the fourth year of the successful Canadian program, but also the fourth year that the film education event has roped in a big name director to help out. This year the project, which invites the public to participate in all aspects of producing a short film, will welcome indie legend David Cronenberg as an executive producer on this year’s film, The Plan. In anticipation of his involvement with the program, Cronenberg recently answered some questions regarding the award-winning Make It Short Film Project.
MovieMaker (MM): Make It Short has been speeding along for three years, offering opportunities to more than 300 people with no film experience a chance to work on or be in a film. Besides your availability, why did you decide to take on the Honorary Executive Producer role this year?
David Cronenberg (DC): To be honest my schedule allowed me to take it on. It’s been a hectic few years, but I’ve been following the growth of the Make It Short Film Project since 2005. I’m impressed with what they have produced over the years and I’m happy to give back to a community so eager to open up and explore film production through such a unique process.
MM: Along with the community opportunities, MIS IV also offers film graduates from Confederation College a bursary and a chance to explore their first independent production. Can you comment on how unique this opportunity is for new talent fresh out of film school?
DC: Getting a chance to take on one of the top creative positions on a film takes time. Films spend considerable time in development and a lot of money is usually at stake. The powers that be holding the purse strings don’t normally take chances on untested talent. You have to prove yourself. Make It Short is unique in that the opportunities are handed to film students on a plate. Serious students would be foolish not to go after it.
MM: How important are tenacity and determination to surviving as a film director?
DC: This business takes talent but you have to be able to get up when you are knocked back. For example, tenacity finally paid off for Lee [Chambers, producer of the Make It Short Project], as he’s been knocking on my door for years. I admire that. He’s got a go-getter attitude, backed up with content that has substance.
MM: Lastly, what advice would you give film students in Canada seriously interested in breaking into the feature film industry?
DC: Like most things, you only get better the more you do it. If your game is writing, write. If you want to direct, direct. It’s as easy as that. Just stick at it and as your skills and instincts grow, the opportunities will start to present themselves.