A casual meeting with George Millerd at a social event a number of years ago left an impression on filmmaker David C Jones. So much so that when Jones heard about a film contest that wanted five-minute shorts about interesting people, he immediately thought of George.
“I found out that night we first met that George had come out at age 55 after being a married, had been a minister and I found him totally fascinating,” said Jones. “I also found out he was in a relationship, having found love in his 60s and so he always stuck in my head.”
By the time Jones had completed the filming and editing it to the required five minutes though, the contest deadline had passed. On a whim he sent it into Out On Screen and was accepted for this year’s Queer Film Festival. “So now its six minutes,” laughed Jones.
Problems with completing the film aside, Jones says that filming a documentary like George is much more challenging than a piece of fiction.
“With a piece of fiction you write the story, then you storyboard it, you figure out the shots, cast it and then film it. With a documentary you try to get some shape with a pre-interview but since the subject is usually not an actor they can get scared or even quiet and you also don’t know where the stories are going to go.”
Not knowing where the story will go is part of the magic that happens in editing and a reason why Jones had three hours of footage for his final six minutes.
“It’s not easy to whittle someone’s life down to six minutes,” said Jones. “The tricky balance is trying to hit the emotional points and the highlights as quickly as possible. The film becomes those parts of his life that I found inspirational and hopeful.”
Having already received a private screening of the film, Jones says that Millerd approves.
“He still thinks it is all a bit of lark as he never thought there should be a movie about him, but I am glad he will be at the Queer Film Festival to see it on the big screen.”
Screens as part of the 2012 Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s From Coast to Coast is Queer evening of shorts on Saturday, August 25. Visit http://www.queerfilmfestival.ca for tickets and information.