Q&A with Ryan O’Toole

Ryan O’Toole is a local Fredericton filmmaker and a fourth year student at the University of New Brunswick. O’Toole screened his newest 24-minute short film On the Last Day, which won the Viewer’s Choice Award, at the Silver Wave Film Festival on Saturday. The film starred O’Toole and New Brunswick actor Sam Kamras, who also starred in his production of That Cowboy Kid which was screened at last year’s Silver Wave.

On the Last Day won Best NB Short Drama, Best Actress to Kamras, Actor in an NB Short Drama to O’Toole, and Excellence in Cinematography to Michel Guitard. Cedric Noel was nominated for Best Original Score and O’Toole was nominated for Excellence in Screenwriting in an NB Short Drama.

Q. It was On The Last Day‘s debut. Were you nervous at all about how it would be received?
A. I was very, very nervous. When your name is on something as a writer and director, especially if it is something personal like this was, you almost feel violated even though you’re entirely responsible for putting it out there. Very strange. And on top of that having to watch myself act and hear my voice and look at my face– it was a nightmare. There was a lot of anxiety going on. And yeah, I was nervous about the reception it would get. I wanted people to like it and relate to it and connect.

Q. Were you happy with how it looked on ‘the big screen?’
A. Yeah! Michel Guitard, who shot the movie, did such a good job. And as a filmmaker there’s nothing better than seeing your work the way it is supposed to be presented–in a theatre, on a big screen. I really hate the idea of watching movies on laptops or phones or whatever else. It really pains me to see less and less people going to the movies and instead staying at home. Netflix is great, DVDs are great, sure, but they don’t compare.

Q. What was the support like at Silver Wave?
A. Silver Wave is a great festival. These people bust their asses to make sure that local film gets the time it deserves in the spotlight and when it all comes together it is such a beautiful thing. It brings so many great people and films together.

Q. Did you catch any other films you were really impressed with?                                                                                                                                           A. Oh man. There were so many great films. Without the intention of leaving anyone out, I’d say Jill Acreman’s The Art of Decay and Man Who Sold The World were super, super good. I love her stuff. Chris Giles’ film Venus in Flames was cool as hell. The Other Side of Charlie was awesome too. I don’t want to go on and on because I most definitely could, so I’ll stop there.

Q. Where do you plan on screening it next?
A. I don’t know yet. Hopefully some other festivals but there are nothing specific in the works right now.

Q. How was this year with On the Last Day, different from screening last year’s That Cowboy Kid?
A. It was definitely different this year. We were lucky enough to have some success with That Cowboy Kid last year, so there was a bit more pressure.

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