Tuesday, November 2, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH CHARLES OFFICER
Monday November 8th Nurse. Fighter. Boy will be screening at BAM! And I know you all are excited to have something to do on a Monday night.
Jamaican-Canadian Charles Officer directed and co-wrote the film, which went on to win best cinematography at the Sarasota Film Festival. I caught up with Officer and asked him a few questions about the heartwarming story. Check out the interview.
The title Nurse.Fighter.Boy is such a great, strong title. Where did it come from?
These were the first three words that came to me when I conceived the project. That never changed. In early drafts of the screenplay, the characters remained nameless, and were referred to as the Nurse, the Fighter and the Boy.
As co-writer of the film did you tap into any personal experiences for the story?
The story was inspired by my personal experiences, single mothers, magic, growing up with women who played the role of a father. Father's stepping up as protectors and one of my older sister who struggles with the Sickle Cell disease. The writing process was full of my personal investment in terms of characters, themes and story ideas before co-writing with Ingrid Veninger (producer). We began writing together a year before we went to camera. That process was intrinsic to the streamlining and clarity of the story from page to screen.
How did you cast for the roles of the nurse, fighter and boy?
Ingrid Veninger had worked with Clark Johnson on numerous occasions with projects she was producing and appeared as an actor. I had the pleasure of working with Clark and played his son in a film called, The Limb Salesman. We sent him the script and he agreed to do the role without hesitation. I met Karen LeBlanc in an open casting session. I had never met her before, but she instantly won the role when she walked into the room. As for Daniel J. Gordon, we had to raise the age range for union and budget concerns to twelve. I initially wrote the role of the boy to be nine years old. When we opened the call, Daniel walked in and blew our minds. He is such a talented lad. We were clearly blessed with our cast on every level.
How did the element of magic and mysticism come about?
Magic and mysticism was a huge part of my upbringing. The stories my mother would tell. This sense of psychic ability was always present when I was young. I have always been curious about the many ways magic manifests in our everyday lives. What we see and what we don't.
What was the most challenging part of directing this movie?
Because it was my first feature, my first baby. It was hard to let go of some ideas, the way you see things, hoped for things to go. Letting go was most difficult throughout the entire filmmaking process.
How was it working with Clark Johnson?
Clark Johnson is a gentle, gracious and generous giant. Beyond words. He showed up on our set the day after wrapping on the HBO show, The Wire. He was not only directing the series finale, but acting in it as well. He was there for us, flew up on weekends between cutting the finale episode. There is only one Clark Johnson. Just being around him, you get a good lesson on life.
What did you learn from the actors during filming?
Just how much I do love actors in the film. How brave and brilliant their souls are.
Your film was made in Canada and now will be screening in Brooklyn, a city with strong cultural ties. How do you think the audience will relate to the story?
I'm hoping Brooklyn will embrace the film. Experience the range of stories our vast Diaspora has to offer. Cinema is a magical way to import and export culture. After all, Toronto and Brooklyn are both urban centres located in North America. I'm thinking globally. No Sleep Til' Brooklyn!
Why did you decide to add the element of the nurse having sickle cell disease?
I have three older sisters. One of which has Sickle Cell. It has taken me a long time to come to understand what that meant for her, her life. I felt the disease receives such little attention and I have never seen it dealt with in cinema. I wanted to change that. In honour and respect to the many who live in silent pain. The sick healer was the first character that came to me. My mother was a nurse for many years.
Thank you Mr. Officer for that great interview. Please come out and support this film. We look forward to seeing you this Monday!
Monday November 8, 2010
30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
4:30pm, 6:50pm* & 9:30pm.
General Admission: $12
BAM Cinema Club members: $7
*After party in the Bam Lobby!