Around Town: Film festival flashbacks

We couldn’t help notice how many filmmakers from North America and places as far afield as Iceland and China who flew in for this year’s Victoria Film Festival found themselves having flashbacks.

For Michael Clark, being repeatedly photographed prompted memories of shooting When Elephants Were Young with director Patricia Sims.

“I was sure I was going to die,” recalled the documentary’s cinematographer, editor and music supervisor who traded in his jungle jackets and baggy shorts for sharper duds.

Clark was recalling his horrific experience in the summer of 2014 when the vehicle transporting the duo to a wildlife sanctuary in Thailand was struck and he plummeted 200 metres off a cliff.

It was what he saw after managing to climb back up the muddy cliff to the highway where Sims, who was ejected, was “in a lot of pain, screaming like an animal” that blew him away.

“I get up to the top and I think somebody’s going to help me over this thing and no one does because they’re all standing there taking selfies of the white guy,” he said.

Director Nick Simon was disappointed he couldn’t join The Girl in the Photographs producer Thomas Mahoney here for Friday’s premiere of executive producer Wes Craven’s final horror film.

The affable filmmaker shared a flashback by phone from the Florida Everglades, where he’s directing a secret project.

“There were crews also shooting [William Brent Bell’s horror film] The Boy, and Dean [Cundey] found them,” Simon recalled.

He said he was amazed that two legendary horror cinematographers — Cundey (Halloween) and Daniel Pearl (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) — happened to be filming in Victoria at the same time.

“Dean said, ‘I’m going to go over to Danny’s set and see if I can pick up some of his crew,’ ” recalled Simon with a laugh. “I’m going, ‘Where am I? What world am I living in?’ ”

Connor Gaston was flanked by cast and crew from The Devout including five-year-old star Olivia Martin, looking like a little princess in her long red gown, at his film’s sold-out première Thursday night.

While the Victoria writer-director’s local reception was as enthusiastic as the one he got at South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival, there were noticeable differences.

“I can finally say one of my films has been translated into another language,” joked Gaston, whose film was subtitled when shown in Busan, with Korean inscriptions on the side of the screen.

Coincidentally, The Devout was also selected for a showing at the Available Light Film Festival in Whitehorse, as was his mentor Maureen Bradley’s festival hit Two 4 One last year.

Bradley revealed she’ll be flying to Wisconsin next week for her bittersweet gender identity comedy’s premiere at the Beloit International Film Festival, or BIFF.

Quipped Bradley at CineVic’s after-party for The Devout: “All I know is it’s on a giant lake, and Making a Murderer [which unfolded in Manitowoc County].”

Before Five Nights in Maine screened at the Odeon Thursday, Maris Curran had lots to smile about despite the sombre nature of her beautifully understated grief drama starring David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest.

The Philadelphia-born filmmaker said she has been spending her time running and sight-seeing, and was thrilled after Variety reported during the festival that FilmRise had acquired worldwide distribution rights.

“Did we mention it was beautiful here?” said a post on the Facebook page for the film being released in New York and Los Angeles this summer.

The 10-day festival wraps tonight at 9 with the final bash and awards presentation at Lucky Bar.

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