Whistler Film Festival 2018 Interview: INTO INVISIBLE LIGHT director Shelagh Carter


“What would you choose if you had a second chance at defining your life? What kind of courage does artistic expression involve? And though appealing, camouflage deeper and darker secrets most fail to reckon?”

Congratulations on your film playing and welcome to the wonder that is Whistler Film Festival! So is this your first time here and are you planning to attend your show?

Yes, I am very excited to attend the festival for both screenings ! Thrilled that Jennifer Dale, who plays the female lead, is also attending, along with my wonderful editor Chad Trembaly.

When was the moment you said to yourself “I want to get into the movie business” and what have you worked on in the past?

I have always loved film and I am a very visual person. I think the moment happened when I experienced how passionate I felt about the actual creation of a film. The need to tell the story that just will not leave you alone. Over the last ten years or so I have made several short films and now three features. Of course understanding this is also a business has required a lot patience – it has its challenges. Just being a creative person, means tolerating uncertainty.

So how did this movie come together?

The idea for the film came together awhile back when I was at the Canadian Film Centre and I directed Jenn in a short film, which as it happens was also shot by this film’s DOP, Ousama Rawi. I thought of her as the  character Helena out of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. She had actually played her , but then we thought let’s make this story contemporary and the script evolved out of that.

Once we had our producers in place, and the various funders, and our wonderful cast and crew, there was the moment in time that this is it , we have to go now. Shooting happened over 18 days and the edit, where the film tells you what you have for sure! And then the days in post, making final creative decisions. And so the dream of being accepted into film festivals begins.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What is your drive?

Coffee and truly feeling at home on the set with the people I’m working with.

So if you were to pick one moment that you would consider the biggest challenge of making the movie, along with the “a-ha, we GOT it” moment, what would each of those be?

Finding a particular location, the estate, seemed to be the most elusive. The ‘a-ha’ moment belongs to the first time everyone saw in a morning rehearsal for camera , the dance that is performed at the end of the film. There were a few tears of sheer appreciation and joy.

Could we get technical for a second? For my tech-savvy and filmmaking readers, I would love to know about the visual design of the movie and how it was photographed.

I started the conversation with Ossi Rawi thru the film’s title. That ‘light’ can be used in connection with the conscious side of the mise-en-scene; dark to reveal the unconscious, haunting dimensions that inhabit those fringes that subdue and complicate surfaces. For example, warm saturated colours that capture the spirit of the tango and  its erotic energy move into desaturated images when specifically needed for the scenes of death, darkness and danger implied by the brothel that one of the characters enters in a mistaken attempt to secure funds to support her dance career. Mr. Rawi’s visual agility in painting with the light comes from so many years of experience and this is our third film together and we have developed a way of collaborating that I so value. And technically, for a second, Anamorphic format 2x squeeze.

After your WFF screening, where is the movie going to go next? Theatrical? Online? Any dream screenings or exact theatre in mind?

I really don’t know yet. Our distributor has their eye on a theatrical release and has sent it off to a number of European Festivals. Any of those would be amazing. But I have learned that my films seem to find their way to the festival audience in an unpredictable fashion.

We do have a lot of people out there looking to be inspired and work in the industry in one way or another. What is a piece of advice that you would give to anyone looking to get into the motion picture business?

Find that team of people you collaborate best with. And if you really love the work, the process,  and just be true to yourself, you will know then what is best for you.

And finally, what is the single greatest movie you have ever seen?


This is one of the many movies playing at this year’s Whistler Film Festival. For more showtime information and on the festival itself, point your browser to www.whistlerfilmfestival.com!

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