For filmmaker Aaron Chan it is all about his art

Filmmaker Aaron Chan is out to prove that anniversaries don’t have to be clichés in his new appropriately titled film Anniversary, which premieres at the 2012 Vancouver Queer Film Festival.

“Without giving too much away, everyone tries, or is supposed to do something special for their anniversary,” explains Chan. “In Anniversary, Jorge tries to do just that for his boyfriend. He thinks of typical, romantic things to do but realizes they’re not that great after all, and that it’s better to try and be creative and put a twist on old, clichéd ideas.”

Surprisingly given how the log line reads, this new film from the creator of Stay and Cure(d) is not a comedy.

“I wouldn’t actually call Anniversary a comedy, though I think some people might,” says Chan. “There might be comedic scenes, but overall, it’s a pretty simple drama.”

That isn’t to say Chan has anything against comedies: “My type of humour is wordplay and wit, and gay comedies, I find, just aren’t all that appealing to me because they rely on physical gags a lot. I’m just not sure I could ever be successful at writing a good gay comedy feature film, but maybe someday!”

Currently finishing a final edit that is his final project for a photography course he took at Langara College, Chan admits that he is having a difficult time putting his finger on his inspiration for Anniversary.

“I think I had this idea about romantic gestures kicking around my head for a while, and once I wrote it out and realized it was only a two-page script with no dialogue, I saw the potential to try out some of the tricks I learned in class,” says Chan. “Although this isn’t an experimental film in the sense of it being an art film, I do consider Anniversary to be experimental for me as a photographer and a filmmaker. It’s an exercise in photographic and videographic skills.”

A scene from Aaron Chan's Anniversary which will screen at this year's Vancouver Queer Film Festival
A scene from Aaron Chan’s Anniversary which will screen at this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival

With Anniversary complete, Chan is now looking towards his next projects including a ghost story that just wrapped a couple of weeks ago. But while filmmaking will remain part of his life, Chan says it is taking a back seat as he focuses more on writing.

“Earlier this year, I had two short stories published, a romance short story, and a creative non-fiction story about being gay and out in high school. In the fall, I’m going to UBC full-time in the Creative Writing program,” he says.

Besides, with several films including the critically acclaimed On The Bus under his belt, Chan says he wants to be able to have more control over the treatment that his scripts receive.

“I value my stories and my scripts much more than I used to, so any script that I’m going to turn into a film must be made the best it can be. You only get one go at it, and anything less than what I imagine it to be isn’t good enough. I have to treat my vision of my stories with care and respect because they should be treated that way. It’s not about being egotistical, it’s about the art. It always comes down to the art.”

Anniversary

Screens as part of the 2012 Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Coast is Queer evening of short films by Vancouverites. Visit http://www.outonscreen.com for more information.

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