Begin Again Interview: Julie Brar
“Every project I create I want to tell stories that are diverse and inclusive because I see a world that’s full of diversity.”
Listen, anyone who says that coming of age only happens when you’re a young person hasn’t actually lived a real life. For one thing, we are always growing no matter what literal stage we’re at in our life. And for another thing, what is becoming an “adult” anyway. If you asked me as a child, I would’ve told you coming of age would be when I was no longer a teenager but now that I’m in my thirties, I’ve experienced many different faces and flavours of coming of age.
Filmmaker Julie Brar’s web series Begin Again agrees with this sentiment. It follows three best friends, Denise, Sarah and Toni, now in their thirties and coming to terms with the fact that life isn’t how they imagined it would be as children. Re-lat-able, amirite?
Begin Again is also up for IPF funding and we’re super stoked to feature it on the blog. What do we want? More women’s stories—especially diverse/inclusive stories! When do we want them? Decades ago but now will do too we suppose! Give the trailer a watch and read our interview with Julie below.
JULIE BRAR is a Toronto based actor and filmmaker working in film, television and theatre. Her television credits include Beauty and the Beast, Fringe, and Lost Girl. Wanting to empower herself as a storyteller, Julie started to write and produce her own work in 2010. Since then she has written/produced/acted in projects including SHIVA, Om Sweet Om, and Jade.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with filmmaking.
Julie Brar: I went to theatre school and started out acting. After a couple years I decided to start writing and creating my own projects. I realized that there aren’t many quality roles for women. I wanted to help change that. I’ve written plays, short films and web series.
Tell us about Begin Again. Where did the idea come from?
JB: The idea for Begin Again really came from my own challenges, recognizing that life can be very difficult sometimes. When I was a kid I really bought into the idea of a fairytale. I had some pretty quaint ideas about adulting. I created Begin Again to explore the relationships between three friends who’ve known each other since childhood. Despite the highs and lows of life Denise, Sarah and Toni are doing their best to survive and overcome all of life’s obstacles.
Why a web series over a short or feature?
JB: Begin Again is a web series because it allows me to write the stories of Denise, Sarah and Toni over a longer timeline of years and decades. It’s actually very freeing to be able to tell a story as a web series. A short film doesn’t give me enough time to fully explore their stories. Plus it is accessible to anyone online.
Can you tell us about some/all of the other amazing women who worked on this film?
JB: I’m so lucky to have so many amazing women on the team for Begin Again. Laura Nordin is going to direct some of the episodes of Begin Again. Natalie Novak has been a great asset on the producing team, incredibly helpful for helping us navigate the IPF. We’re so happy to have Janal Bechthold signed on to compose the music for Begin Again. Out of all the projects I’ve created I’ve had the most fun with the actors on Begin Again, both as a director and actor. Mayko Nguyen (Denise), Emily Andrews (Sarah) and Loretta Yu (Ana) have been so much fun on set and I’m looking forward to filming all eight episodes of the show.
Tell us about why you are a feminist and why it’s important to your filmmaking.
JB: In the world we live in I don’t know how not to be a feminist. I stand for what I feel is right and fair so I am a feminist. Every project I create I want to tell stories that are diverse and inclusive because I see a world that’s full of diversity.
Who are your favourite women working in the film industry?
JB: I look up to Shonda Rhimes because of how much success she has created in a male dominated industry. Knowing the politics of the film and television business creating Shondaland is a pretty impressive achievement. I also deeply admire the directing work of Ava Duvernay.
What’s the best advice about filmmaking you’ve ever received?
JB: The best filmmaking advice I’ve ever received is to learn and grow from each project. Figure out what worked, what didn’t and most importantly how I can do it better next time. I’m happy to say with each project I’m learning and growing as a storyteller.
What are you working on now/next?
JB: I’ve written all eight episodes of Begin Again so that’s my current project. I’m also writing a chapter for a book that’s about overcoming adversity.
What are your three favourite smells?
JB: My three favourite smells are how my house smells when I walk in the first time after making granola, an essential oil I sniff when I’m writing in my office (sounds weird but it isn’t!) and the smell of the trees walking outside with my dogs.
Finally, recommend one #MUFFApproved film for our blog readers!
JB: Thelma and Louise is still one of my fave female driven films. However when I saw Bend It Like Beckham I started to imagine that someone who looked like me could have a career in film. It actually motivated me to start creating.