Filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones explores bullying and violence in his short Liar which plays as part the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Break Even, a collection of Canadian shorts.
Liar tells the story of a teenaged girl named Tara, whose boyfriend breaks up with her because he’s gay. When her sister and her friend find out, they convince Tara that he’s not actually gay, and they decide to hunt him down and teach him a lesson. When the girls catch up with Brian and their plan takes an unexpectedly violent turn, Tara is forced to choose between standing helplessly on the sidelines or stepping in to defend the boyfriend that hurt her.
Having been away from dramatic films that dealt with queer characters for some time, Jones (pictured right) says he began looking for a way to say something about being a young gay man today and what kind of film he wanted to see that had queer content.
“That question led me down a long road of thinking about bullying and violence. I eventually decided that I wanted to make a short film that touches on some of the complex motivations going on when a situation escalates into violence,” says Jones. “In Liar, the position of the bystander became interesting to me. She’s obviously under a tremendous amount of pressure from these older girls. The audience knows that what’s going on is wrong, Tara knows it’s wrong, so we’re left waiting to see if she will make a move to intervene.”
Both writer and director, Jones says it is the writing that he finds the most satisfaction.
“Writing is extremely important to me,” he says. “I love directing, but for me the process of coming up with an idea and honing it during the writing phase feels the most magical. Things get chaotic once a whole bunch of people get involved.”
With Liar now making the film festival rounds that included a screening at last month’s Shorts International in Los Angeles and now at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Jones isn’t one to wait around to start his next project. Off scouting locations for his new film Wild Medicine, Jones is about to embark on his first feature and continuing to write for television.
“It’s about a closeted gay seventeen year old Anishnaabe kid in northern Ontario who has to take care of his family after his sister’s suicide”, says Jones. “I’m also writing for two upcoming TV shows: Mohawk Girls and The North End. Oh, and VideoFAG in Toronto has asked to do a retrospective of my films in October, so that’s pretty fun.”
Adam Garnet Jones | Canada | 7 minutes. Visit http://www.viff.org for exact screening times, tickets and more information.