In 2005 filmmaker Eldar Rapaport created the short Postmortem. Fast forward six years and that sixteen minute film has blossomed into August, a feature length movie set to screen as part of this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
Catching up with Rapaport as he was traveling to Tel Aviv and then to London to begin filming his next movie Little Man, he tells us that the idea of turning Postmortem into a feature came about as the film traveled around the world’s festival circuit and people began asking for it to be expanded.
“Everyone kept asking me for the feature film version of it. I thought that would only be a natural step then to take that and make it into a feature,” he explained.
Originally what Rapaport calls an “anecdote, a moment in time”, the final decision to make August came after the movie’s co-writer Brian Sloan saw the film at Outfest in 2005. “Brian loved it and we stayed in touch. Some time later I reached out to him to see if he wanted to collaborate on the project. Luckily he said yes.”
Luck continued to be on his side, as Rapaport says the two writers complimented each other well.
“I’m all ambiance and subtext and Brian is more of a traditionalist in the sense of structure and arcs so we balanced each other well together. We would normally brainstorm on story ideas, plot lines. I would then write and send for comments, rewrite and so forth.”
August tells the story of two former lovers, Troy and Jonathan (played by Murray Bartlett and Daniel Dugan), who reunite after a long ago painful breakup. After spending several years in Spain, Troy returns to Los Angeles and decides to phone Jonathan and meet for coffee. A seemingly innocent rendezvous turns into an attempt to revive passions past. Only this time it’s not that simple as Jonathan has a new beau, Raul, and is trying to make the right decision a second time around.
While the story has some basis in his own life, including the very first scene of the film which Rapaport said reflects what happened to him many years ago, he sees the story has being a more universal experience.
“Everyone has been on either side of the fence, the one breaking with and the one broken with,” he said. “And everyone has a mythological ex, someone in their past that had a tremendous influence on them and no matter what when they show up in their lives they turn into jello.”
Shot over 18 days of principal photography, Rapaport acknowledged the extra work that it takes to create a feature compared to the shorts he has made until this point.
“Features are an entirely different animal. Doesn’t matter how many shorts you make, shooting a feature is a behemoth, especially for so little money,” he said. “At times you need to remind yourself, stress and all, you like doing this otherwise what’s the point. Making a short now feels like a piece of cake. Still I would stick to features. The gratification is bigger.”
Part of that gratification is in the positive reviews that the film has garnered.
“It’s always nice to get that sort of validation and it gets attention. I got plenty of interest a day after the Variety review. The trick is not to care too much. Its art and it is highly subjective. There will always be those who love it and those who hate it. You just need to learn not to take it personally and not let it affect you. To me test screenings are more important.”
Saying he had always wanted to be a filmmaker, for as long as he can remember he went to see movies by himself, it was one film that ultimately inspired him to take up the profession.
“I think the one that totally and finally made me to go to film school though, was Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. I was blown away by it. And Wong Kar Wai. But aside from that I just see film as the most powerful vehicle out there to tell stories, educate and affect people’s lives. I want to be a part of that.”
Cineplex Oden International Village
Monday, 15 August 2011 @ 9:30pm – Presented by GayVancouver.Net
Thursday, 18 August 29011 @ 5pm
Visit http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca for more information.