“LOVE, SCOTT follows the journey of a young, gay musician, Scott Jones, who was attacked and left paralyzed from the waist down. The film is a window into Scott’s fragile process of healing as he learns to move through life in a wheelchair, all the while turning to music for healing as he seeks to understand both justice and forgiveness. Constantly choosing between love or fear, I see LOVE, SCOTT as the portrait of a very brave young man with a magnificent human heart.” Director Laura Marie Wayne on LOVE, SCOTT which screens at the 2018 edition of Whistler Film Festival.
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?
I am so thrilled and excited the film is being shown at Whistler; this is a festival I have had on my radar for a long time. I am currently researching for another project in Central America, so I will not be there in person, but I will be there in spirit!
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 studied film as part of my graduate degree in London, England. I was doing quite a bit of film analysis at that point and when I graduated, I went on a long trip to India. I came across the book The Artist’s Way, which is a beautiful process of meeting your inner artist. Through that I realized – I don’t want to be critiquing film, I want to make it!
So how did this movie come together?
Scott and I met 14 years ago at university and were kindred spirits immediately. When Scott was attacked, I was studying at the film school in Cuba and had no Internet. My mother finally got a hold of me and broke the news over the phone and I was absolutely devastated. Pretty quickly, I got on a plane to Halifax to be with Scott and while I had no idea that we would make a film, there was a strong instinct to bring my camera. I will never forget the day I arrived, walking across Halifax and trekking my camera along, totally terrified of what it would be like to see Scott in the hospital. When I entered the room and walked nervously around the curtain of his bed, one of the first things Scott said to me was “Laura, did you bring your camera?” So, I suppose that was the beginning!
Scott and I then collaborated for the next three years, with me basically following him everywhere he went and often sleeping on his couch. It felt important to really live his story with him and I didn’t make shooting plans so much as I relied on my intuition and Scott’s guidance to know when the camera needed to roll.
I was very lucky to work with an incredible producer at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Annette Clarke, who trusted me completely and allowed me to follow my own process. I also have two treasured colleagues from the film school in Cuba, Raul Prado and Marcos Caraballo, who came on board at different points to collaborate with the camera and editing, respectively. As Scott was healing with such deep trauma, this was a very delicate process that required so much trust and sensitivity and we couldn’t hire just anybody – it had to be just the right person. Annette supported me to have Raul and Marcos travel all the way from Cuba and the Dominican Republic because they were truly the right people for the job.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What is your drive?
There are three main medicines I relied on heavily during the creation of LOVE, SCOTT… yoga, music and my cat Luna! I was so lucky there was a yoga studio across the street from my edit suite and it helped a lot to move my body and slow down. I also worked really hard to make my edit suite a sacred space and I would light sage and put on special music every single day before I started, and then often as the night wore on. I must admit that I once set the fire alarm off doing this… we were quite deep into the edit at the point and I guess I got a little carried away with my ritual… but you should have seen the cut that night!
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?
I think I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility being trusted with this story; I wanted so much to get it right and to tell the story in a way that would do justice to the depth of sorrow, loss and bravery that I witnessed in my best friend. There were many moments that I was just so hard on myself or really doubted the decisions I was making, because as a director you are making decisions all the time! I was working in an edit suite next door to a more seasoned filmmaker, Andrea Dorfman (Parsley Days, Flawed) and one day, while sharing my doubts with her, she wrote down this beautiful quote by Robert Bresson for me:
“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”
That was a turning point for me and it has been hanging on my wall ever since?
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.
The film was photographed with the C300 and the Canon 60D! It was important to have something fairly small and user-friendly so that I could be present as both the friend and the cinematographer at once, but of course we also wanted something that produced beautiful images. The visual fabric of the film is meant to emulate Scott’s inner landscape as he moves through the different layers of healing.
After your WFF screening, where is the movie going to go next? Theatrical? Online? Any dream screenings or exact theatre in mind?
We have some really interesting screenings ahead – the Havana Film Festival in December is particularly meaningful for me because Cuba is where I studied cinema. I learned so much on that island and was so inspired by the films we would see every year in the festival, so to return as a director feels like I have officially ‘graduated.’ Scott and I will also be travelling to Turkey in January to screen the film in three different cities and as there is a nationwide ban on all LGBT organized events in Turkey, it feels important and radical to bring the story there. I’m grateful the film has received several international awards so far, which makes me hopeful we can find audiences for a theatrical release in Canada. My fingers are crossed that we can also find some beautiful art-house cinemas on the West Coast, particularly since Scott was born in Nanaimo, BC and lived there the first 9 years of his life.
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?
Trust your gut and remember that nobody sees the world quite like you; there is a reason that you have been called to follow this path. Don’t sell yourself short!
And finally, what is the single greatest movie you have ever seen?
Believe it or not, for me, it is Wim Wenders’ WINGS OF DESIRE. I am too young to have seen it at a festival but it’s a film that spoke to me in many ways and continues to inspire me and be present in my life.
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!