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The Coast is Queer: June may very well have been inspired by a piano playing cat

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A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A Vancouver Queer Film Festival veteran, June is the fifth short from Aaron Chan.  A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Aaron Chan, and I am a musician/writer/filmmaker/creative writing student at UBC. Oh, and I’m a Sagittarius, if anyone was wondering.

Who were your early filmmaking mentors or inspirations?

I started out in film making documentary shorts as part of the Playing It Safe project, co-funded by the National Film Board. Terri Wynnyk, who was one of the organizers of the project and a filmmaker herself, first got me thinking deeply about being selective about images and how they support a story on screen.

I also love older, classic films. Billy Wilder is one of my favourite filmmakers of all time; his natural gift for dialogue and humour and telling a story is amazing. Fritz Lang, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin are also great at how they convey story and emotion with little to no words; I learned a lot of how to show, rather than tell, from silent films.

In terms of more modern filmmakers, I adore Wes Anderson’s sense of humour and the indie-feel of his films, Ang Lee’s grand visual style, and Hiyao Miyazaki because he’s just awesome and tells wonderful stories.

What inspired you to make June?

I woke up in the middle of the night one night and saw that the light on top of my piano was on. It could’ve been my cat, but I began thinking it was a ghost. When I couldn’t fall asleep again, because I was thinking about the ghost, I began constructing a story about why this ghost wanted to turn the light on and why it might want to play the piano. After that, the story came naturally to me and I when I grew attached to the script, I knew I had to try and get it made.

What challenges did you face while making June?

Oh god, what challenges didn’t we face while making this film? I think our biggest challenge was synching up everyone’s schedules to find a day that worked for everyone to film. Case in point: we had originally planned to shoot in December of 2011, but after many, many delays and difficulties, including finding someone with a piano that would let a crew mess around for a couple days we finally got to filming in July of 2012. More than half a year later, we finally filmed. Scheduling is definitely not my favourite thing to do.

What’s been the coolest experience so far with the film?

I actually finished the film only about a week [or two] ago, so it hasn’t really been anywhere. I’d say that the coolest experience with the film is having it screened at Out on Screen, for sure. Other than that, I think it’s really cool when the cast and the crew were able to relate so much to the emotion behind the film even though it’s a silent film, and it makes me, as a filmmaker and a storyteller, feel like I’m doing something right.

Are you a film festival newbie or have you had another film(s) at the Festival?

This is my fifth short film at the festival! I’m always surprised and excited every year to be a part of it.

What are you most excited to do and/or see at this year’s Queer Film Fest?

Honestly, I’m just really excited to see a lot of diverse queer films. The Lot in Sodom + Vintage Porn program is really interesting, especially since I do love older films (and vintage porn? I’m there!). I’ll also be attending the workshop with Michelle Tea (Book Your Own F**king Career) since as an artist, I need all the help I can get to ever live as one. I’m also planning to catch In the Name of and G.B.F. which looks like a lot of fun.

The Coast is Queer

June screens as part of the 2013 Vancouver Queer Film Festival on Friday, August 23, 2013 at 9pm at the Rio Theatre. Visit http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca for more information. GayVancouver.Net is once again proud to sponsor The Coast is Queer Award recognizing a distinguished film from this year’s program.

June

Visit http://www.theaaronchan.com for more information.

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